K M Dayashankar
KARIMNAGAR: An awareness programme on the importance of breastfeeding was organised for the expecting and lactating mothers at Sanjeevanee hospitals in Karimnagar town on Sunday (August 14).
This year, World Breastfeeding Week was celebrated on the theme ‘Step up Breastfeeding – Educate and Support’, which was chosen by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action. The Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India focused its campaigns around the network of Breastfeeding Friendly Hospitals in India (BFHI).
As part of the national breastfeeding month, eminent paediatrician and lactation counsellor Dr Ramya Pawan informed the expected mothers and lactating mothers about the importance of breast milk which protects newborns from infections and helps develop immunity. She said that breastfeeding has been found to improve the closeness of mother and baby.
Explaining different methods of breastfeeding by holding the infants comfortably such as cradle-hold, side lying etc, Dr Ramya said that the infants be initiated to breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to the exclusion of other foods or liquids, including water. Infants should be breastfed on demand as often as the child wants day and night. In the case where the mother’s own milk is unavailable or insufficient, the next best option is to use pasteurised donor human milk, she added.
Gynaecologist Dr M Vijaya Lakshmi of Sanjeevanee hospitals said “Today, every mother, parent and family knows that breastfeeding is the best for newborn babies, but we are yet to achieve 100% exclusive breastfeeding,”. “The first and foremost responsibility of the healthcare provider should be to educate the expectant mothers during pregnancy on the importance of breastfeeding as the first immunisation for the baby,” she said.
Irrespective of whether it is a normal delivery or a caesarean section, early initiation of breastfeeding by breast crawl method – putting the baby on the chest of the mother within the first hour of birth – is strongly recommended. At the level of government, the Infant Milk Substitute Act guidelines need to be strictly implemented, she opined.