Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed regardless of HIV Status

Leslie Hanson
August 7, 2018

But what are the critical things we need to do, to ensure as many babies as possible get the healthiest start in life?

The debate of whether breast is best has been going on for years but now the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that Midwives should check if mums are breastfeeding within an hour of birth. Nutritious complementary foods should then be added while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or beyond. The findings from WHO and partners estimate that global economic losses from lower cognition associated with not breastfeeding reached more than US$ 300 billion in 2012, equivalent to 0.49 per cent of the world's gross national income.

"Breastfeeding also plays an important role in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals for motherhood and childhood".

However, there are several other barriers to breastfeeding children including ignorance of benefits of breastfeeding, improper advice from friends and family leading to supplement breast milk with formula, lack of support for working mothers from employers in providing environment conducive for breastfeeding, and lack of trained health workers who can guide new mothers about the right techniques of breastfeeding.

A Professor of Child Health and Consultant Neonatologist, University of Benin/University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UNIBEN/UBTH), Charles Eregie, has once more asserted that there are no substitutes to breast milk.

"In 1990, no woman knew about exclusive breastfeeding". Breast milk is essential in the first six months as it provides all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals crucial for growth.

"For infants to survive, grow and develop as they should, they need to be breastfed".

Anisur Rahman said the proportion of breastfeeding among children aged below six months has increased to 64 per cent in 2017, a sharp 23 per cent rise from 2008 when the ratio was 43. After childbirth, the little baby and I tried to bond over breastfeeding.

It prepared educational materials to demonstrate the various health benefits of breastfeeding in the short and long term for both mother and infant and distributed these materials in various health institutions.

When I speak of my own experience, the ecosystem back then gave pregnancy far more importance than breastfeeding. This is to enable the mother breastfeed the baby on demand whenever the baby wants to breastfeed. During the same period, the rates of early initiation of breastfeeding decreased from 40 per cent to 27 per cent. In fact, breastfeeding rates within the first hour after birth are highest in eastern and southern Africa (65%) and lowest in east Asia and the Pacific (32%), the report said. The support in those tender moments helped me firmly hold on to breastfeeding for over six months. The survey also revealed that not even 50% of the children under three years of age in the city are breastfed within an hour of their birth.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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