From mom, with love

Even as various events are being conducted to mark World Breastfeeding Week, experts feel more awareness needs to be created among new mothers and their families about the benefits of mother's milk. Breastfeeding within an hour of birth prevents 20 per cent of newborn deaths. Infants who have not been breastfed, face 15 times more chances of dying from pneumonia and 11 times more likely to die from diarrhoea than children who are exclusively breastfed. And these two are the leading causes of death in children under five years of age.

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.


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