August 7 will mark the end of World Breastfeeding Week, unfortunately without much of a noticeable campaign promoting healthful breastfeeding practices immediately after childbirth.
Breast milk is rich in prebiotic human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) which are structurally complicated sugar molecules unique to human breast milk and helps in the development of the infant gut microbiota that ensures immunity against allergic diseases. In many countries, it can even be a matter of life or death. It contains vital vitamins and nutrients that the baby needs in the initial months after birth.
Despite wide acknowledgement of the strong health and nutritional benefits of breastfeeding, only about 15% of new mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for the recommended six months (2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey).
Breastfeeding helps the baby's physical and intellectual development, protects mother's health by helping early involution of the uterus, reduces postpartum bleeding, and thereby prevents anaemia, along with many other ailments. "Breastfeeding is also one of the most cost-effective interventions for preventing obesity, communicable and non-communicable diseases", said Dr Ahmed Almandhari, WHO regional director for the eastern Mediterranean region. With no additional burden on household income, breastfeeding is a low-priced way of feeding babies and contributes to poverty reduction.
Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore said: "When it comes to the start of breastfeeding, timing is everything".
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The metro has nutritionists and dietitians who visit Ekurhuleni primary healthcare facilities to educate mothers on how to effectively breastfeed. This is a common occurrence when the baby isn't latched on correctly.
In Egypt, caesarean section rates more than doubled between 2005 and 2014, increasing from 20 per cent to 52 per cent. To boost exclusive breastfeeding, the Global Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative, led by UNICEF and World Health Organization in collaboration with worldwide partners, are providing leadership to improve breastfeeding rates. A study across 51 countries noted that early initiation rates were significantly lower among newborns delivered by caesarean section. The Gift designation gives Opelousas General Health System a better opportunity to achieve further certifications and accreditations, as well as meet national and global quality measures and standards of care.
The authors of the report have called for closer monitoring of breastfeeding rates, saying it's important that new mums are offered immediate breastfeeding support after giving birth.
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.