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Health and Family

Prevention is better than cure


  Health Topics: B

World       Breastfeeding Week

1-7 August 2016

Breastfeeding: Akey to Sustainable Development

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.

It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until a baby is 6 months old. Nutritious complementary foods should then be added while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years or beyond.

This year, WHO is encouraging people to “Support mums to breastfeed anytime, anywhere,” as all of       society       has a role to play in making our communities more breastfeeding-friendly.

Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby:

  • Breast milk contains       adequate       amount of proteins, fats, calories, lactose, vitamins, iron, minerals, water and enzymes necessary for the baby.
  • Breast milk is quick and easy to digest.
  • It also boosts the immunity of the baby, which further protects baby from several infections.
  • It plays a significant role in brain development of the baby
  • It is economical and free from contamination.
  • Breastfeeding enhances the emotional bond between the child and the mother.

Benefits for Mother:

  • It reduces the chances of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
  • It reduces post delivery bleeding and chances of anaemia
  • It helps       mother       to regain her normal figure. Obesity is less common among breastfeeding mothers.

Benefits for the Society:

  • Breastfeeding reduces mortality rate in children.
  • Since breastfed children develop a better immune system they are prevented from several diseases. This results in       reduction       of       health       budget.

All we need to know about Breastfeeding:      

  • Mother’s milk is the best and complete nutrition food for the baby.
  • Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed the baby.
  • Start Breastfeed within an hour of the birth.
  • Give exclusively breastfeed to the baby for the first 6 months.
  • In the first 6 months, no other commercial milk like powder or artificial food, drink or even water is required for the baby.
  • If       mother       or the child is sick, breastfeeding should be continued.
  • Mother       can continue breastfeeding for two years or beyond.
  • Bottle-feeding can be       harmful for       your baby. It is the leading cause of loose stools in babies.
  • Only after 6 month solid foods should be introduced.
  • Do not smoke or take alcohol during breastfeeding, it can be       harmful for       you and your baby.
  • Maintain a proper hygiene before and after the breastfeed.
  • Child       should be fed on demand or at least 8 times in 24 hours.

Q: Up to what age can a baby stay well nourished by just being breastfed?

A:Infants should be exclusively breastfed – i.e. receive only breast milk – for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth,       development       and health. "Exclusive breastfeeding" is defined as giving no other food or drink – not even water – except breast milk. It does, however, allow the infant to receive oral rehydration salts (ORS), drops and syrups (vitamins,       minerals       and medicines).       Breast milk       is the ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; breastfeeding is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers.

WHO recommends that infants start receiving complementary foods at six months (180 days) of age in addition to breast milk. Foods should be adequate, meaning that they provide sufficient energy,       protein       and micronutrients to meet a growing child's nutritional needs. Foods should be prepared and given in a safe manner to minimize the risk of contamination. Feeding young infants       requires       active care and stimulation to encourage the child to eat.

The transition from exclusive breastfeeding to full use of family foods is a very vulnerable period. It is the time when many infants become malnourished, contributing significantly to the high prevalence of malnutrition in children under five years of age worldwide. It is essential therefore that infants receive appropriate, adequate and safe complementary foods to ensure the right transition from the breastfeeding period to the full use of family foods.

Amounts of foods to offer




Amount at each meal   a

6–8 months

Start with thick porridge,     well mashed       foods

Continue with mashed family foods

2–3 meals per day, plus frequent breastfeeds

Depending on the child's appetite, 1–2 snacks may be offered

Start with 2–3 tablespoonfuls per feed, increasing gradually to ½ of a 250 ml cup

9–11 months

Finely chopped or mashed foods, and foods that baby can pick up

3–4 meals per day, plus breastfeeds

Depending on the child's appetite, 1–2 snacks may be offered

½ of a 250 ml cup/bowl

12–23 months

Family foods, chopped or mashed if necessary

3–4 meals per day, plus breastfeeds

Depending on the child's appetite, 1–2 snacks may be offered

¾ to full 250 ml cup/bowl

a    Note: If       baby       is not breastfed, give in addition: 1–2 cups of milk per day, and 1–2 extra meals per day.