Im­por­tance of breast­feed­ing

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION -

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

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