August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is celebrated every year from August 1 to August 7 across the world to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies. "A mother might face problems like, pain while feeding, change in the nipple colour, cracked, sore nipple, Mastitis, Vasospasm, Plug Ducts, tongue or lip tie or cleft palates are some of the significant problems faced by mothers while feeding", Varsha Satyan, counsellor, Lactation Consultant, Member of Medela India LC Club says. As a perfectly adapted nutritional supply, breast milk is the ultimate personalised medicine which may save about 820,000 lives a year, 87 per cent of them infants under 6 months of age.

Breast milk is rich in prebiotic human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) which are structurally complicated sugar molecules unique to human breast milk and helps in the development of the infant gut microbiota that ensures immunity against allergic diseases.

"For infants to survive, grow and develop as they should, they need to be breastfed". And these two are the leading causes of death in children under five years of age. Antibodies are also present in breast milk, which help boost babies' immune system. A miniscule 0.6% increase in exclusively breastfed children was observed between 2007 and 2013, from 37.1% to 37.7%.

The nutritionist emphasized the importance early initiation, exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding to the health of mothers, children and the economy. It also offers a quiet relaxed time for mother and baby to bond. Breastfeeding is also a proven primary prevention strategy, protecting both infants and mothers from a host of chronic and acute diseases and conditions and building a foundation for life-long health and wellness.

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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. Mothers are expected to put the baby to the breast within 30 minuties of delivery and to give the baby the first milk which is known as colostrum. Stunted growth and childhood malnutrition can be mitigated through better breastfeeding practices as one of its major contributors.

Hiwet Darsenie, Nutrition Expert in Women and Children Health Directorate with the Ministry, for her part said that the Ministry is celebrating the breastfeeding week to raise awareness among the people, and inform the significance of breastfeeding, and engage mothers to feed nutrition for childrens.

The SBFO started its celebration of World Breastfeeding Week with a 20-hour training course on breastfeeding that was held on Wednesday in partnership with Khorfakkan Hospital.

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