Skip to main content

Breastfeeding - a joint responsibility


Childbirth is an extremely emotional experience for all parents; it overwhelms them with love, happiness, excitement, a sense of responsibility as well as a lot of anxiety and exhaustion. The moment a child is first held in the arms, this amazing journey of parenthood begins. At the breast, the infant feels at home: warm, safe and protected. Breastfeeding nourishes, heals and creates an eternal bond. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.

Just like all other mammals, the natural duration of breastfeeding in human beings is also somewhere between 2.5 to 7 years. This natural term weaning, helps mothers to continue to provide immunity and meet their baby's psychological needs as they grow and start exploring more.

According to NFHS-5 data, the percentage of children under 6 months, who are exclusively breastfed in India is 64% and children 6-8 months who receive solid or semi-solid food along with breastmilk is 46%

The WABA and the World Bank emphasizes that breastfeeding has the single biggest impact on child mortality compared to any other preventative health measure. Breastfeeding can help avoid over 800,000 child deaths and 20,000 maternal deaths globally per year, from several causes including breast cancer and other forms of cancers, diabetes and other illnesses. 

Imparting correct education about breastfeeding and creating awareness is really crucial and should be ideally begin right from adolescent age. Sensitization of pregnant women about the umpteen benefits of breastfeeding and preparing them for the future challenges is very important. Hence antenatal breastfeeding classes is a must. Along with moms to be, the father and the elderly in the families, should also be encouraged to attend these sessions.
In hospital settings too, each and everyone who caters to breastfeeding mom and baby dyads like the obstetricians, gynaecologists, neonatologists, pediatricians, lactation consultants, nursing staff, midwives and other paramedics should all be involved. They all should be well-versed with the updated knowledge and skills required for optimum breastfeeding

Human milk banks are the need of the hour
and need to be setup in large numbers all across the country to ensure that all babies receive only precious breastmilk and formula feeding can be completely avoided even in the cases where breastfeeding is contraindicated or not possible for some reason.

Education and awareness needs to reach the grassroots and hence education programs need to be carried out at community level. The training for community health workers, doctors and nurses from special new-born care units (SCNUs) and district and sub district levels is also very important.

In order to bring about huge change for the betterment, the policymakers, academicians, advocates and the media also need to be involved. The employers should create breastfeeding friendly environment and policies for the lactating mothers. Media and celebrities need to be really vigilant and conscious that no wrong messages are getting spread to the masses which might hamper breastfeeding success.

With the boom of social media, it is a moral duty of all the social media influencers and each one of us to contribute towards promoting and protecting breastfeeding. There is a dire need of many more peer support groups, which are moderated by experts in the field so that every mother will be able to share her insecurities more freely and get support from moms who have overcome similar challenges. Breastfeeding is a shared responsibility and success can be achieved only when mothers receive a caring and supportive environment.


Popular posts from this blog

Breasts know a lot!

I wonder if  breasts have a mind of their own , The innate intellect they carry is quite well known . While my little angel was still in my womb, happily growing My breasts were showing changes too, they were preparing for future feeding The areolas suddenly darkened and nipples became perky Later I understood, it happened so that my baby could latch easily. My breasts became warm, the moment he was put to my chest They signalled for the miracle hormone to calm my nerves and help me rest The sweet scent of milk that my breasts emit, attracts my baby instantly The moment they hear his hunger cry, they also start leaking automatically. How on earth do they know what my baby wants and what he needs?? Its fascinating that they even modify my milk, depending on when and how long he feeds. One night I was sleepy, so I may have skipped a feed or two They woke me in the middle of the night with heaviness and pain , I knew what I had to do Even my doctor warned me , if I

Breastfeeding: a boon for babies

  It is well known that breastfeeding has numerous health benefits for the baby, mother and the society as well. In addition studies have consistently shown that the benefits of breastfeeding last well into adulthood too. Mother produces milk specifically suited for her baby. Breast milk is a complex, living, biological fluid which contains just the right amounts of nutrients, in the right proportions. It is rich in immunoglobulins, enzymes, hormones, growth factors, macrophages, etc. Babies learn to regulate temperature and maintain stable breathing and heart rate while breastfeeding. Lactose in human milk enhances calcium absorption and metabolizes into galactose and glucose, which supplies energy to infant’s rapidly growing brain. Human milk contains numerous long-chain fatty acids including DHA and ARA. These lipids are responsible for cell membrane integrity in the brain, retinas and other parts of the baby’s body. Breastmilk contains a lot of