The National Family Health Survey - 4 has revealed that only 30.7 per cent of mothers initiate breastfeeding within an hour of birth despite the fact that about 90 per cent of mothers deliver in institutions. For the life-long well-being of children, doctors recommend early initiation of breastfeeding within an hour, exclusive breastfeeding for first six months and continued breastfeeding for at least two years.
Breast milk is full of the nutrients required by the baby. Breast milk is made of fats, sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and enzymes and is designed to promote brain and body growth. Antibodies are also present in breast milk, which help boost babies' immune system. Given the overwhelming evidence available on the impact of breastfeeding on reduction of neonatal mortality and infant mortality and the innumerous health benefits it provides, it is imperative that efforts are intensified to improve optimal breastfeeding practices. Mathru Devo Bhava.