Breastfeeding Week starts today


The Department of Health Services under the Ministry of Health and Population on Friday announced the launch of ‘Breastfeeding Week-2015’ across the country from tomorrow.

Officials said Nepal will observe breastfeeding week till August 7 with the theme ‘Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work!’ by organising awareness programmes at primary health centres, district development committees, VDCs, municipalities and public places.

According to the DHS, 75 per cent children less than six months’ old are exclusively breastfed, and the median duration of exclusive breastfeeding is 4.2 months.  Early initiation of breastfeeding is important for both the mother and the child. Early suckling stimulates the release of prolactin, which helps in the production of milk, and oxytocin, which is responsible for the ejection of milk. The first liquid to come from the breast, known as colostrum, is produced in the first few days after delivery. Colostrum is highly nutritious and contains antibodies that provide natural immunity to the infant.

It is recommended that children be fed colostrum immediately after birth (within one hour) and that they continue to be exclusively breastfed even if regular breast milk has not yet started to flow.

According to the Nepal Demographic Health Survey-2011, only 45 per cent babies are breastfed within the first hour of birth and 85 per cent babies are breastfed within a day. Twenty-five per cent babies are nourished with prelacteal feed.

With breastfeeding, prelacteal feed is 10 per cent and one per cent children are never breastfed. It is said that around 700,000 children are born every day in Nepal. Breastfeeding week is celebrated globally in the first week of August every year to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding for a newborn as well as the mother.

MoHP states that breastfeeding helps in the physical and mental development of the child as it contains nutritious elements. Breastfeeding is not only healthy for the child but also for the mother because it decreases the chances of breast cancer and uterus cancer.