Breastfeeding advocates around the world were appalled recently when the United States refused to pass a run-of-the-mill World Health Organization resolution that encourages countries to "protect, promote and support" breastfeeding, instead electing to favour the interests of infant formula companies.
According to United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), it is described as the cornerstone of care for childhood development and the gold standard of infant feeding as it provides all the nutrients that a child needs for the first six months of life. Nutrition is central to sustainable development. Breastfeeding is one of the key interventions for building the foundation of healthy development during this period.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), children should be exclusively breastfed for six months because it is the optimal way of feeding infants. This year, World Health Organization is working with UNICEF and partners to promote the importance of helping mothers breastfeed their babies within that crucial first hour of life.
Kenya is among the countries that have been able to achieve the World Health Assembly (WHA) target of increasing exclusive breastfeeding to 50 per cent by 2025. One of the steps to successful exclusive breastfeeding includes allowing mothers and infants remain together 24 hours a day.
The earlier studies, cited in the report, show that newborns who began breastfeeding between two and 23 hours after birth had a 33% greater risk of dying compared with those who began breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
'We're making progress, but it's a hard journey.
Breastfeeding is nature's'way of helping new mothers recover quickly from the trauma of childbirth, supporting her health, and providing the ideal opportunity to bond with the baby. Mothers can breastfeed as long as they can. It prevents hunger, malnutrition, and ensures food security for the child. "Apart from the child, breastfeeding has important benefits for the health of mothers", says Dr. Sachin Jain, Consultant Neonaatologist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon. Breastfeeding is a universal solution that levels the playing field, granting every child a fair start in life and lays the foundation for good health and the survival of women and children, ' said the City's Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, JP Smith.
Breast-feeding can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes as well as certain types of breast and ovarian cancer. Although there's no doubt that safe infant formula is essential for some families, we also need to acknowledge that the industry's aim is to increase market share, not to promote infant health.
Okere told nursing mothers at Zamzam Hospital in Ngong, to observe hygiene in addition to exclusive breastfeeding for undersix months, as they also continue to breastfeed for two years.