On the occasion of 'World Breastfeeding Week 2013' observed from August 1 to 7, the lactation experts have recommended the working mothers to breastfeed their babies for six months and if not possible, using stored breast milk.
The theme for the World Breastfeeding Week 2013' is 'Breastfeeding support: close to mothers' that highlights breastfeeding peer counselling. The objectives are to draw attention to the importance of peer support in helping mothers to establish and sustain breastfeeding, to inform people of the highly effective benefits of peer counselling and to improve duration and rates of exclusive breastfeeding.
Speaking on the significance of the theme, district coordinator of 'Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India', Dr Neelam Deshpande said, "Awareness about significance of breastfeeding is still low. Breast milk acts as the first vaccination for the baby and it should be initiated within an hour of delivery. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is very important and peer counselling helps a lot in achieving the same."
She recommended the working women to opt for six months maternity leave. "Working women also can store the breast milk in refrigerator at room temperature that can be fed to the infant within 4–6 hours."
She cited an example of Lalitpur–a backward district in Uttar Pradesh, where the BRD Medical College at Gorakhpur, UNICEF and the State government collectively and successfully implemented ‘Baby Friendly Community Health Initiative' during 2006-2012. All the anganwadi workers, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and traditional birth attendants were trained in counselling and helping the mothers in breastfeeding.
The rate of initiation of breastfeeding within an hour of delivery was improved from 10.6 per cent in 2006 to 62 per cent in 2012 and the first six months exclusive breastfeeding rate increased from 6.6 percent to 60 percent.
"Dr DY Patil Medical College and Hospital has adopted the Lalitpur model and trained its staff in helping the mothers in breastfeeding. Since breastfeeding is the foundation of child's future health, awareness programmes will be held throughout the week," Deshpande who also is the professor at the same college, said.
30 July 2013