Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed regardless of HIV Status

Maricruz Casares
Agosto 7, 2018

Breastfeeding advocates around the world were appalled recently when the U.S. refused to pass a run-of-the-mill World Health Organization resolution that encourages countries to "protect, promote and support" breastfeeding, instead electing to favour the interests of infant formula companies.

Proclaimed by Mayor Donald Cravins in 2013, that August be recognized as National Breastfeeding Month by the City of Opelousas and the Parish of St. Landry, and because World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated internationally August 1-7, Opelousas General Health System plans to celebrate by hosting a free Community Baby Shower. Mothers can carry the pump and storage bag to their work place and pump there to keep up their milk supply.

Starting within one hour of birth, a child can be breastfed until the age of 2 years. Even a delay of a few hours after birth could pose life-threatening consequences.

"Breastfeeding children within an hour of their birth allows them access to colostrum, the first of breast milk that is rich in antibodies".

So, there should be adequate measures to encourage every lactating mother to breastfeed their babies instead of depending on any other supplementary feed till their age of six months, they added.

Mothers also benefit because breast feeding helps with postpartum depression because of the hormones produced during breastfeeding.

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.

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World Health Organization director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, added: "Breastfeeding gives children the best possible start in life".

Regulating an industry that makes profits on the back of women choosing not to breastfeed is a good start.

Mr Henrietta H. Fore, the UNICEF Executive Director said when it comes to the start of breastfeeding, timing is everything and that in many countries, it can even be a matter of life or death. "Yet each year, millions of newborns miss out on the benefits of early breastfeeding and the reasons - all too often - are things we can change".

A consultant paediatrician with the National Hospital Abuja, Dr Tolulope Otuneye, has advised nursing mothers to seek medical assistance when breastfeeding becomes hard. These include feeding newborns food or drinks. During the same period, the rates of early initiation of breastfeeding decreased from 40 per cent to 27 per cent.

The report reveals that breastfeeding rates within the first hour after birth are highest in Eastern and Southern Africa (65%) and lowest in East Asia and the Pacific (32%). "Babies room-in" is another care model in which the newborn stays in the same room as the mother throughout the entire duration of their stay at the hospital.

While India has shown improvement by almost doubling early initiation within a decade, from 23.4% in 2005 to 41.5% in 2015, it still ranks 56th in the tally of 76 countries analysed for breastfeeding access by the two United Nations agencies.

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