Breastfeeding challenges: Paediatrician urges mothers to seek medical help early

Henrietta Strickland
August 7, 2018

The Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce recently named her Entrepreneur of the Year.

Breastfeeding advocates around the world were appalled recently when the United States refused to pass a run-of-the-mill World Health Organization resolution that encourages countries to "protect, promote and support" breastfeeding, instead electing to favour the interests of infant formula companies. Additionally, it threatened Ecuador, the sponsor country of the resolution, with retaliatory trade measures and removal of military aid if they continued to pursue it.

During the World Breast Feeding week which is marked in the first week of August and is themed as "Breastfeeding support: Close to mothers", experts highlight that infants who are not exclusively breastfed for the first six months are at a greater risk of death from diarrhoea or pneumonia than those who are breastfed.

When I speak of my own experience, the ecosystem back then gave pregnancy far more importance than breastfeeding.

Most mothers who find themselves in this predicament are frustrated because they are unaware of the resources that can help them.

What are some of the benefits of breastfeeding? Breast milk continues to provide essential nutrients for childhood development up to two years.

Improving these practices, promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding through the baby-friendly hospital initiative as well as literacy and birth spacing, can help improve survival of children and mothers in the region.

Now in Ethiopia, only 58 percent of mothers are aware of the significance of breastfeeding for children till six months without any additional food and water, she stated. Breastfeeding makes economic sense as well, being a more affordable option than purchasing formula.

Conversely, there are challenges to breastfeeding.

There are gaps in the quality of care provided to mothers and newborns.

Messages around new mothers struggling with low milk supply, and toddlers needing "toddler milk" to supplement their diets are both unhelpful and untrue. Lactation consultants such as those certified through the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants are an wonderful resource for supporting women and babies who are struggling with these types of issues.

Despite the high cultural acceptance for breastfeeding in Pakistan, the country has the highest bottle-feeding rate and lowest exclusive breastfeeding rate in South Asia. "A mother might face problems like, pain while feeding, change in the nipple colour, cracked, sore nipple, Mastitis, Vasospasm, Plug Ducts, tongue or lip tie or cleft palates are some of the significant problems faced by mothers while feeding", Varsha Satyan, counsellor, Lactation Consultant, Member of Medela India LC Club says.

Initiating breastfeeding within first hour of birth is crucial to avert neonatal deaths as well as to ensure proper growth and development of a child.

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