A talk on breastfeeding practices with Anganwadi workers was held at Dhanas here today. The talk was given by Dr. Sunil Kumar Agarwal,Consultant, Neonatology and Dr. Rabia Kapur(PT), Lactation Consultant at Mamma Mia, Fortis Hospital Mohali. The World Breastfeeding Week is observed from August 1 to 7 every year.
The talk lasted an hour and various myths brought out during the discussion were dispelled by the doctors. According to the recent National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4 survey), out of 26 million babies born in India, 14.5 million children are not able to get optimal feeding practices during the first year of life. Only 44.6% women initiate breastfeeding within one hour of delivery and 64.9% are breastfed up to six months.
While talking to the ladies, Dr. Sunil Agarwal,Consultant, Neonatology said, “If breastfeeding were promoted more effectively, more children would survive, with lower rates of disease and lower rates of malnutrition and stunting. The recent Lancet Nutrition Series also highlighted the remarkable fact that a non-breastfed child is 14 times more likely to die in the first six months than an exclusively breastfed child.”
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), breastfeeding is the normal approach of providing young infants with the nutrients required for a healthy growth and development. It recommends that mostly all healthy newborns are ready to breastfeed with in the first hour after birth.
Dr. Agarwal further informed the audience,“Studies show that women who breastfed their infants had up to a 12% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes for each year they breastfed, decreased the risk of ovarian cancer by up to 21%, decreased the risk of breast cancer by up to 28% in those whose lifetime duration of breastfeeding was 12 months or longer.”
Dr. Rabia, Lactation Consultant at Mamma Mia, Fortis Hospital Mohali, told the women,“Breastfeeding is much about emotions rather than just about the physical transfer of breast milk from mother to the baby. Sometimes, dealing with the added responsibilities, new moms experience stress that is severe and intense, which can temporarily inhibit letdown. This is because physical and mental stress can slow the release of oxytocin into the bloodstream of a breastfeeding mother. Oxytocin, a hormone released into your bloodstream when you nurse, can have a calming effect. This means that a mom who’s stressed and breastfeeds her baby is likely to become more relaxed post feeding.” She informed, “Some of the other known breastfeeding benefits for new mothers are that it helps in dissolving pregnancy fat, it provides protection from uterine and ovarian cancer, it acts as a natural contraceptive as well as enhances the bonding between the new born and the mother.”
An already known fact that breast feeding provides better immunity and better health to a child was reiterated during the talk. The doctors brought out that usually, a lot of myths and misinformation about breastfeeding keep mothers from trying to feed their babies. Some of the myths are cultural, and some come from the family as a genetic transfer, specially, the notion of not making enough for the baby.