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Exclusive Breast feeding: Invaluable gift to your newborn

 
  By : , Kochi , India       4.8.2018         Phone:0484 669 9999          Mail Now
  Kuttisahib Road, Near Kothad Bridge, South Chittoor, Cheranalloor, Kochi, Kerala 682027
 
 
 

Dr Rajsree S,
Consultant Neonatologist,
Aster Medcity,
Kochi

Globally only 38% of infants aged 0-6months are exclusively breast fed. Sub-optimal breast feeding practices, including non-exclusive breast feeding contribute to 11.6% mortality in children under 5yrs of age. Lancet nutrition series also highlighted the remarkable fact that a non-breastfed child is 14 times more likely to die than an exclusively breast fed child.  

In India, recent reports show an increase in Exclusive Breast Feeding rates from 46.4% to 54.9 % ( 35.8% in Meghalaya to 77.2% in Chattisgarh ). Only 6 states showed a decline in prevalence of exclusive breast feeding, which unfortunately and unexpectedly includes Kerala.

Now, despite a high degree of health awareness and good health statistics, why is the prevalence of exclusive breast feeding decreasing in some states? Is it partly because of the increasing number of working women, along with the fact that the institutions which employ them do not provide facilities to promote breast feeding? For a working woman to successfully breast feed, in addition to proper awareness, there should be adequate maternity leave, a proper feeding room in the workplace and facilities to express and store breast milk when she is away from her baby.

Policy making bodies should make sure that workplaces have these facilities in place, so that all working women can exclusively breast feed.

As we all know, breast milk is the elixir of health and it is full of advantages to the baby including enhancing the immunity against infection and betterment of the cognitive abilities.

What are the advantages of breast feeding to the mother?

Soon after delivery breast feeding helps to reduce the blood loss from the uterus by increasing the levels of a hormone called oxytocin. It helps the uterus to come back to its normal tone and also helps the mother to lose the excess weight acquired during pregnancy. It also has contraceptive properties because it prevents ovulation to some extent.

These are all short term benefits. Is breast feeding beneficial to the mother in the long run?

Of course. Mothers have 12% reduced risk of type 2 DM for each year they breast feed, decreased breast cancer by 28% and reduced risk of Ovarian Cancer by 21%.

While breast feeding is a natural act, it is also a learned behaviour. Mothers require active support for establishing and sustaining appropriate breast feeding practices. She should be supported by her spouse, her family members, her employers , the government .. in short everybody around her has their own role in making sure she can successfully breast feed.

This breast feeding week, the first week of August, let us all be part of a movement to promote breast feeding in everyway we can so that we can nurture a healthy productive generation.

Read Breastfeeding Guide & Tips article by Dr. Jose Paul, Neonatologist, as he gives guidance on how to breast feed & stresses on the importance of Breastfeeding for babies health.




TAGS: Breast feeding,   World Breast Feeding Week,   kerala,   Aster Medcity,   Dr Rajsree S,  




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