Breast is best for SA babies

Health professionals, mothers, learning many benefits of breastfeeding

A study from 2010 found that only 34 per cent of British babies received breast milk at six months of age, compared to 49 per cent of babies in the US and 74 per cent in Norway.

Doctors say breastfeeding has important health benefits for both the mother and the baby and it also helps develop an emotional bond between them. "Breast milk is the only diet a child should be provided for first six months of life that protects against several infections and provides them necessary nutrients". It has been proven to lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as osteoporosis.

'Nurturing the Health and Wealth of Nations: The Investment Case for Breastfeeding, ' suggests that meeting this target could save the lives of 520,000 children under the age of five and potentially generate $300 billion in economic gains over 10 years, as a result of reduced illness and health care costs and increased productivity.

South Africa has committed itself to achieving the new Sustainable Developmental Goals by 2030 and the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding is one of them as a smart investment in ensuring a healthy, equitable and sustainable future.

"Breastfeeding is the best start in life one can give to the newborn and it has positive effects that last through adulthood - no other health intervention has a return on investment matching that for breastfeeding", said WHO Representative to Sri Lanka, Dr Razia Pendse.

The investment case also throws light to the fact that in China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Nigeria, which are the world's five emerging economies, approximately 236,000 children die every year, causing an economic loss of USA $ 119 billion due to the lack of investment in breastfeeding. This year the theme for the week is "Sustaining Breastfeeding Together".




The director, who represented the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, said it is vital to promote infant and young child feeding practices that combat malnutrition and other related conditions that lead to increasing rate of maternal, infant and young child morbidity and mortality.

World Health Organization is calling on nations to help promote breastfeeding by enacting paid family leave and workplace breastfeeding policies, provide breastmilk for sick newborns and counsel new mothers on how to breastfeed.

"Well the very first breastfeed is very essential for babies" health.

UHCS is excited to support area families by celebrating World Breastfeeding Week and Georgia Breastfeeding Month with activities to raise awareness about breastfeeding among patients and staff, special gifts for all babies born at UHCS during this week, and a kickoff of the Georgia 5-STAR initiative.

For those mothers who can not, or choose not to, breastfeed, the RCPCH recommends appropriate support and education on infant feeding should be provided.

The information was publicized by Meuhedet Health Services, the country's third-largest health fund - to mark World Breastfeeding Week being held this week.

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