Women's Month: Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed regardless of HIV status

Ben Davidson
August 7, 2018

The Ministry of Public Health and healthsector institutions are seeking to raise breastfeeding rates in Qatar to reflect those set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The speakers said breastfeeding is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need.

It is recommended that babies are fed breast milk for the first six months of life, because studies find that babies do better physically. When the child turned six months, that number dropped to 18 percent.

"Women should be able to rely upon sound science when they make critical decisions about how to feed their children, and informing women of the health benefits of breastfeeding is an worldwide imperative", said Christine Clarke, co-organizer, advocate and nursing mother.

The report by World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) states that overall women in high income countries are far less likely to breastfeed than those in poorer countries.

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Dr Nagarathna D.S., Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Apollo Cradle, Koramangala, said, "Breast milk provides the flawless source of nutrition for new born babies". As per Lancet, a reputable medical journal, breastfeeding saves lives and improves health. This can happen if the woman loses the feeling of fullness in her breasts or if milk stops leaking from the nipple. It also helps prepare children for a prosperous future.

Prof. Osawaru Oviawe, on his own part, stressed on maintaining the complete immunization doses for babies in addition to optimal breastfeeding up to six months, to build malaria antibodies as well as drive down asthma and eczema allergic reactions associated with milk substitutes. Those who began breast feeding between 2 and 23 hours after birth had a 33% greater risk of neonatal death compared with those who began breastfeeding within one hour of birth. There are also health benefits for mothers such as having a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

Now in Ethiopia, only 58 percent of mothers are aware of the significance of breastfeeding for children till six months without any additional food and water, she stated. Exclusive breastfeeding also helps to bring about bonding of baby and mother and helps delay a new pregnancy. It also boosts the child's Intelligent Quotient (IQ) and lowers his or her tendency of developing into a violent adult. There are several reasons, ranging from lack of awareness, to low confidence level of the mother.

Masina further stated that mothers may have observed that health practitioners at clinics encourage the natural breastfeeding as opposed to bottle feeding as they may harbour infections on the artificial tit.

Sincerely, this is very desirable as it will support the mother practise exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of the baby's life. The percentage of exclusively breastfed children in Pakistan has remained static, with just a microscopic increase evident over the last seven years.

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