Importance of breastfeeding
GULJAN S ABRAHIM
Breast milk plays an important role in the lives of both the child and the mother. It provides ideal nutrition for infants because it is enriched with perfect vitamins, proteins and fats that are essential for a child’s growth. Furthermore, the milk contains antibodies, which protect the newborn babies from viruses and bacteria. It also lowers the threats for a child from asthma or allergies sufferings. According to specialists, those babies who are breastfed regularly for 6 months have fewer ear infection, respiratory illnesses and diarrhoea. Similarly, it is evenly beneficial for mothers because it burns extra calories, and thereby, helps a mother lose pregnancy weight faster.
It also releases the hormone oxytocin that helps a mother’s uterus return to its pre pregnancy size and reduces uterine bleeding after birth. The breast and ovarian cancers can also be reduced with the help of it. Shockingly, breastfeeding rate in Pakistan is dismal which is only 38%; however, bottle feeding is reported 41% which is worrisome for a developed country like Pakistan.
Experts believe, in Pakistan, children are often given other liquids to meet the need of milk. Dangerously, water quality in the country is poor too which leads to many illnesses, so pneumonia and diarrhoea remain the biggest killers of children in the region. According to the demographic health survey, the percentage has risen from 37.1 in 2006-7 and to 37.7 in the year 2012-13.
Pakistan was included among the list of 118 countries, which had voted in the favour of adopting international codes of making of breast milk substitutes during world health assembly in May 1981. It is extremely essential to provide awareness among the mothers about the importance of breastfeeding. And mothers ought to be guided at any rate to save the children in the country. The WHO should also take measures in this connection. —Via email