by Savitha C Muppala on  July 30, 2007 at 2:16 PM Health In Focus
The ‘Cup’ of Life - Only the Breast Over the Rest!
Breast Feeding in the 1st Hour can save ONE million Infant Lives

The 16th World Breast-Feeding Awareness Week commences on August 1st, 2007. Around the same time in 2006, Medindia had carried an exclusive report, titled 'Breast Milk-The Mother of All Milk for Infants', elaborating the specialties of breast milk for infants. The importance of breast feeding during the immediate hours following the birth of infants is the corner-stone of the World Breast Feeding Week (2007).

In May 2007, during a meeting with The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, The Breast Feeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI), along with professional health organizations and NGO's urged the government to put its best foot forward in addressing issues pertaining to child survival. The members of the delegation called for adequate measures that will support family level intervention in encouraging and supporting breastfeeding.

The BPNI is spearheading the cause of breast feeding during this week by organizing rallies nation-wide, slated to commence on August 1st at 9 am. The rallies will disseminate the crucial message about the FIRST and BEST step mothers should take in the 1st hour following the birth of their child - Simply Breast Feed!

Abysmal neonatal care and malnutrition are found to be overriding reasons for infant mortality in India. Statistics have shown that out of 27 million babies born in the country each year, as much as 1.2 million babies do not survive the first month. These dismal statistics can see the light of day, only if mothers and families begin to assimilate the tangible and intangible benefits of breast feeding. It is estimated that in India alone, this simple ACT of breast feeding can save the lives of 250,000 babies annually.

Breastfeeding Promotional Activities in the World - A Peek

New Zealand is celebrating World Breast Feeding Week in a rather different and memorable way. On August 8th, a 'sucking marathon' on an international scale will be launched. This event will witness many hundreds of mothers breast feeding their infants from the stroke of 10 am. The marathon feeding session is slated to go on for 24 hours in a path-breaking endeavor to create a new international record for 'The most women in synchronized breastfeeding around the world.'

Solomon Islands will follow suit within an hour after New Zealand; similar marathon breast feeding sessions is scheduled to take place in many places around the world.

The International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) has designed powerful promotional kits, with a catchy expression, 'Welcoming Baby Softly'; Exclusive pamphlets and promotional literature about the benefits of mother's milk will be distributed to health institutions, and campaigners for the cause of breast feeding. 'T' Shirts and infant clothes with the WBS slogan will be made available to increase awareness of breast feeding.

Conclusive Evidence about Merits of Breast Milk

A recent insight has underlined the immense goodness of breast milk. The study demonstrated that breast fed babies, especially those fed between six and 13 months of birth were 50% likely to be upwardly mobile in society, in contrast to bottle-fed babies. This study adds credence to a previously held and oft debated theory about the positive influence of breast feeding on children's intelligence quotient. A high I.Q is veritably one of the factors behind an individual's standing in society.

A notable insight on African women battling AIDS, demonstrated the ability of breast milk in enabling protection against the virus. This was especially so when the infants were absolutely fed on breast milk. The study also found that nearly 15% of the babies who were not wholly breast fed died within three months, as against six percent of exclusively breast fed infants.

The lasting gift a mother can give to her child is to begin this significant process of breast feeding in the 1st hour following the birth of the child. Breast milk not only enables nutritional benefits to infants, more importantly it provides the antibodies needed to fight against bacterial and viral infections.

Source: Medindia

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