August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Breast milk contains the entire nutrient that an infant needs for the first six months of life.

According to a research by World Health Organization and UNICEF, breastfeeding babies for the first two years would annually save the lives of more than 8,20,000 children under five years of age. Breastfeeding is a low-priced way that provides a foundation for good health in both babies and mothers.

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

The benefits of breastfeeding for the mother include protection against breast and ovarian cancers, hip fracture later in life and postmenopausal cardiovascular disease (the longer mothers breastfeed, the greater their protection against breast and ovarian cancer, and hip fractures).

HIV positive, breastfeeding mothers are given a fixed-dose combination drug that is a combination of two or more antiretroviral (ARV) drugs in one pill which allows them to also exclusively breastfeed their babies, preventing a mother-to-child transmission during the infant feeding period.

Regulating an industry that makes profits on the back of women choosing not to breastfeed is a good start.

Britain's rates of breastfeeding are the lowest in the developed world, with just 1 percent of new mums only breastfeeding their children by the age of six months.

While the infant formula industry is a US$45 billion global business, with the means to run slick publicity campaigns targeting parents and health professionals, breastfeeding advocates rely mainly on well-documented evidence to get their messages across.

Lagos State has already implemented this and others can take a cue from the Lagos example.

Another important issue is how soon mothers are expected to breastfeed their babies. "Breast milk should be given to the baby once both the mother and the child are in a stable condition". Donor milk is screened for infections.

After the first feed, babies are to be breastfed on demand that is whenever the baby shows signs of hunger day and night. Sustained breastfeeding support, education, and consistent, accurate information will help to meet these goals. OGHS has also recently earned The Gift designation The Gift is an evidence-based designation program for Louisiana birthing facilities created to increase breastfeeding rates and hospital success by improving the quality of maternity services and enhancing patient-centered care. Breastfeeding prevents hunger and malnutrition in all its forms, and ensures food security for babies, even in times of crises.

Breastfeeding is one of the most essential and natural forms of bonding between a mother and a child and also a vital source of nutrition and immunity for the latter, but health experts lament it is not given its due importance due to lack of awareness and various misconceptions.

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