August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Breastfeeding challenges: Paediatrician urges mothers to seek medical help early

Breastfeeding challenges: Paediatrician urges mothers to seek medical help early

It was learned that Breastfeeding Week has been celebrated every year from August 01 to 07; and Ethiopia is now celebrating the 2018 World Breastfeeding Week for the tenth time.

A nursing mother, Mrs. Onoshaze Omorunyi while enumerating on the benefits also talked about challenges of breastfeeding.

Nerea Ojanga, a midwife and breastfeeding consultant at the Kenyatta National Referral Hospital emphasised that a baby's stomach can not digest anything but breast milk for the first six months, and encouraged working mothers to express milk to sustain breastfeeding. Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of their lives have lower risk of respiratory infection, sudden infant death syndrome and fewer bouts of diarrhea.

The question of exclusive breastfeeding as the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need has been a subject of several studies.

They also viewed that malnutrition is responsible, directly or indirectly, for about one thirds of deaths among children under five years old. "Importantly, each of those children would be given the strongest foundation for lifelong health and optimal nutrition, and the best chance possible of achieving the highest attainable standard of health".

Mothers who give birth at Baby-Friendly™ hospitals and birthing centers are more likely to initiate exclusive breastfeeding and are more likely to sustain breastfeeding at six months and one year of age.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 40% of infants under six months are exclusively breastfed globally. Very low exclusive breastfeeding rate has persisted among mothers in Nigeria with the National rate at 25% in 2014 (National Nutrition and Health Survey, 2014). The activity highlighted the most common reason for a breastfed baby not gaining weight and explained to participating mothers and medical staff how to deal with this issue. Now is also an opportune time to reverse the rising trends in bottle-feeding that are putting millions of dollars into the pockets of companies that speak laurels of their infant formulas as adequate replacements for breast milk.

"But these are actually signs that the woman's body has adjusted to the baby's feeding requirement".

Even as various events are being conducted to mark World Breastfeeding Week, experts feel more awareness needs to be created among new mothers and their families about the benefits of mother's milk. During the same period, the rates of early initiation of breastfeeding decreased from 40 per cent to 27 per cent.

Sayce said for a successful breastfeeding journey every new mom needs a plan which should include what to do in the first hours following birth, and who they can contact for support. Other challenges can arise around a woman's milk supply or an infant's ability to latch on to the breast.

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