Breastfeeding Crucial in the first hour of child's birth:Survey

Breastfeeding Crucial in the first hour of child

Feeding mother’s milk or colostrum in the first hour gives baby a healthy start to fight against malnutrition and common infections later in life. In...

Feeding mother’s milk or colostrum in the first hour gives baby a healthy start to fight against malnutrition and common infections later in life. In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illnesses.

Breastfeeding in the first hour also confers benefits to the mother, such as improved lactation and less loss of blood. Numerous studies from around the world have shown that stomach viruses, lower respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and meningitis occur less often in breastfed babies. Exclusive breastfeeding (meaning no solid food, formula or water) for at least six months seems to offer the most protection.
Exclusive breast feeding is ideal nutrition and sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life. Despite its well-known benefits, the facts reported on breastfeeding practice in India are not very encouraging.
According to an online survey conducted by Medela, a research-based company that provides breastfeeding solutions to mothers around the world, only 33 per cent mothers initiate breastfeeding in the first hour – which is regarded as the most crucial time to breastfeed a child.
Experts are of the opinion that initiating breastfeeding within an hour of delivery could reduce neo-natal mortality as it protects the babies from various kind of infections. “Breast milk is the best nutrition for a baby’s optimal growth and development. Exercising exclusive breastfeeding for first six months result in stronger immunity for life and even leads to sound physical, mental and emotional development,” says Dr Anita Sharma, Childbirth educator and a Lactation Counsellor with Fortis Healthcare Ltd.
Breast milk's protection against illnesses last beyond your baby's breastfeeding stage, too. Diarrhoea, the third leading cause of childhood mortality in India, is responsible for 13 per cent of all deaths/year in children under 5 years of age. Breastfeeding is the simplest and the cheapest intervention to prevent child deaths occurring from diarrhoea.
An exclusively breastfed child is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child, and breastfeeding has been shown to drastically reduce deaths from acute respiratory infection and diarrhoea, two major child killers.
Breast milk’s nutritional value is unparalleled and should be the only dietary intake for a child for the first six months.
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