Breastfeeding revolution

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Photo: Jhpiego.

Today marks the end of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week. A simple biological process is now a revolution all over. Why a week dedicated to emphasize something as simple as breastfeeding?

Because all along we have been ignoring the crucial relevance of feeding newborns.

Breastfeeding within an hour of birth could prevent 20% of the newborn deaths. Infants who are not breastfed are 15 times more likely to die from pneumonia and 11 times more likely to die from diarrhoea than children who are exclusively breastfed, which are two leading causes of death in children under-five years of age. In addition, children who were not breastfed are at increased risk for diabetes, obesity, allergies, asthma, childhood leukaemia, sudden infant death syndrome. Apart from mortality and morbidity benefits, breastfeeding also has tremendous impact on improved IQ.

In urban cities, women experience drastic lifestyle changes. In rural settings, it is the lack of amenities, knowledge and support that has led to less women lactating and breastfeeding.

The Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) emphasizes the critical role of breastfeeding and it is a crucial element in all of NIPI projects. ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activist) and ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse and Midwife) build awareness on the importance of mother’s milk through regular home visits, counselling and training on Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC).  In the district hospitals, families are provided demonstrations on FCC (Family Centred Care) that has helped mothers lactate and feed their newborns better.

NIPI projects have unique roles to play in different aspects of mother and childcare programs, and have a common thread of awareness on breastfeeding for a holistic care of the family.

In India, the trend of breastfeeding has shown an upward trend. As per recent data, initial breastfeeding has been nearly doubled in last decade from 23.4 per cent to 41.6 per cent.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have been proactively promoting messages and initiatives on breastfeeding:

Visit Jhpiego and Newborn project to learn more about NIPI partners who work on different maternal and newborn care programs with a role on breastfeeding.