Breastfeeding challenges: Paediatrician urges mothers to seek medical help early

World breastfeeding week Did you know the benefits of breastfeeding

"But today, only about 23.7 per cent of women are aware of exclusive breastfeeding in the country".

"Women should be able to rely upon sound science when they make critical decisions about how to feed their children, and informing women of the health benefits of breastfeeding is an global imperative", said Christine Clarke, co-organizer, advocate and nursing mother. "After six months, breastfeeding should be continued along with other nourishing foods for the baby", Masina said.

"Breastfeeding also plays an important role in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals for motherhood and childhood".

Breastfeeding is one of the most essential and natural forms of bonding between a mother and a child and also a vital source of nutrition and immunity for the latter, but health experts lament it is not given its due importance due to lack of awareness and various misconceptions.

Isokpunwu stated that averagely, women breastfeed their babies for only 19 months while majority gave babies water alongside breast milk in the first six months of life.

Despite the high cultural acceptance for breastfeeding in Pakistan, the country has the highest bottle-feeding rate and lowest exclusive breastfeeding rate in South Asia.

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Initiating breastfeeding within first hour of birth is crucial to avert neonatal deaths as well as to ensure proper growth and development of a child.

It is recommended that babies are fed breast milk for the first six months of life, because studies find that babies do better physically.

Prof. Osawaru Oviawe, on his own part, stressed on maintaining the complete immunization doses for babies in addition to optimal breastfeeding up to six months, to build malaria antibodies as well as drive down asthma and eczema allergic reactions associated with milk substitutes. For example, the office doesn't have a nursing room for when mothers need to pump their breast milk in private. Increasing breastfeeding, according to the World Health Organization site, could save 800,000 children and $300 billion US every year.

The metro's women and men's health manager Thembane Masina has encouraged exclusive breastfeeding by both HIV negative or positive mothers. This is to enable the mother breastfeed the baby on demand whenever the baby wants to breastfeed.

"While early initiation of breastfeeding has remained consistently about one in three women between 1990 and today, thus it increased to 38 per cent and later dropped to 33 per cent".

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. Supportive healthcare systems, adequate maternity leave entitlements, workplace interventions, counselling and educational programmes can all help to improve breastfeeding rates. And these two are the leading causes of death in children under five years of age.

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