Breastfeeding must for

Kathmandu, August 7:

Breastfeeding would significantly reduce infant mortality linked to common childhood illnesses and undernutrition, experts said today.

Breastfeeding is vital for children’s survival and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months could bring down under-five mortality rate by 13 per cent, said Raj Kumar Pokharel, chief of the nutrition section under the Child Health Division. Pokharel was speaking at a workshop on child nutrition organised by Communication Network Nepal UNICEF and CHD.

One in every six children dies before the age of five and three quarter of these deaths occur in the first year, states Nepal Demographic Health Survey.

“Every year, 27,000 children under five years of age are dying in the country, but 6,000 lives could be saved if early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding practices are adopted,” Pokharel said.

Prof Dr Prakash Sundar Shrestha, senior child health specialist, TU Teaching Hospital, said breastfeeding would reward both the child and the mother.

He said mother’s milk would protect children from malnutrition, diarrhoea, respiratory infections, allergies, diabetes and heart diseases.

Breastfeeding also prevents breast and ovarian cancer, lessens the risk of diabetes among mothers and prolongs the return to menstrual period preventing chances of pregnancy, he added.

Plea to city women

BHAKTAPUR: Health experts said on Wednesday that many city women were not breastfeeding babies. Speaking at an interaction organised by Working Women and Children Welfare Council to mark its 12 anniversary, Jaya Bahadur Karki, Bhaktapur district public health officer, said Nepali women, especially city women, were not breastfeeding babies. WWCWC president Ranju Napit said only 35 per cent mothers were breastfeeding babies adequately. Programme coordinator Krishna Prasad Napit said the council would launch a campaign in villages of Bhaktapur to make mothers aware of benefits of breastfeeding. — HNS

Every mother is capable of adequately feeding at least two children at a time, needless of the breast size, Shrestha said.

The NDHS states that although 98 per cent of mothers have breastfed their children, merely 38 per cent have initiated it within one hour of delivery and 53 per cent have fed their babies adequately.