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Mothers should breastfeed babies...
« on: June 16, 2007, 05:35:27 AM »
MANILA, Philippines -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged mothers to breastfeed their children in the first hour of life and continue to do so for the next six months, without resorting to bottle feeding.

“It is beyond dispute that breast milk is the safest, easiest and least expensive way to protect a child’s health in the vital first years of life. Breast milk offers a newly born the perfect mix of nutrients and is full of antibodies. It constitutes the first immunization a child receives,” Said WHO country representative Dr. Jean-Marc Olivé in announcing World Breastfeeding Week 2007, from August 1 to 7.

Olivé said each year 16,000 Philippine children die before their fifth birthday because of inappropriate feeding practices. “Many of these deaths could be avoided if the mothers breastfed their children,” he said.

The theme for World Breastfeeding Week 2007, “Breastfeeding: The 1st Hour -- Save One Million Babies!,” highlights new evidence that if all women begin breastfeeding within one hour after their child’s birth, it would prevent one million newborn deaths globally. The study, conducted in Ghana, Africa, showed 41 percent of all babies who die during the first two to 20 hours of their lives could have been saved. World Breastfeeding Week incorporates International Breastfeeding Day on August 1.

Olivé added that “In the Philippines, baby-friendly hospitals are vital in promoting breastfeeding and in helping ensure quality of care for all mothers. At the same time, strengthening and ensuring compliance with the 1986 Milk Code (authored by then President Corazon C. Aquino,) will help protect mothers from misleading information that affects their decision to initiate and maintain breastfeeding.”

The Milk Code underscores the need to protect and promote breastfeeding and recommends the appropriate regulation of marketing and distribution of substitutes and related products.

WHO recommends that mothers start breastfeeding one hour after birth, that they breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and then continue breastfeeding up to two years and beyond. Appropriate additional foods that are safe and affordable, should be introduced, to complement breastfeeding, from about six months.

More than 20 studies conducted around the world have shown that heavy economic losses are associated with the use of milk substitutes rather than breast milk. (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

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