Over 40% of newborns not breastfed within an hour of birth
Publication: Times of India
Date: 5th Aug, 2016
More than 90% of deliveries take place in hospitals in Karnataka, but only 56% of newborns are breastfed within an hour of birth, according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16.
The colostrum, or first milk from a mother, is considered essential as it contains antibodies that can give the baby resistance to neonatal infections. Four out of 10 newborns in Karnataka miss out on this crucial first-hour feed, according to NHFS data. Dr Kishore Kumar, chairman and neonatologist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, attributes this to the prevalence of myths and lack of awareness.”In many cases, it is blind belief that holds the mother back from feeding the baby immediately after birth,” he said.
Lakshmy Ramanathan, author of For Bumpier Times: An Indian Mother’s Guide to 101 Pregnancy and Childcare Practices, explained some of the traditional practices that keep mothers from feeding babies immediately.
“In northern states, many families wait for the baby’s paternal aunt to perform a puja before breastfeeding is initiated. If the aunt has to come from another city, the baby is sustained with water and multiple sources of milk.This denies the baby the invaluable colostrum, ups the risk of gastrointesti nal infections and suppresses the suckling reflex. Down south, it’s more common to see newborns offered honey, holy water and gold paste as pre-lacteal feeds,” she said.
Dr Anita Arockiasamy, president, India Home Health care (IHHC), which provides nursing services, said that the lack of awareness about the importance of breast feeding is unfortunate.
“It’s sad that some families wait for holy water from some temples. In some cases they wait for a family member to come hoping the baby will become like that person. There is a myth that the first-hour feed is not healthy ,” she added.
High on nutrition:
Introduction of solid food before the age of six months can cause choking and lead to diarrhoea and other intestinal infections and allergies. Studies show that between six and 12 months, over 50% of a baby’s nutritional requirement can be taken care of by mother’s milk. Between 12 and 24 months, breast milk covers over 33% of a baby’s needs.
Doctors said awareness about the importance of feeding a baby within an hour of birth is improving, and data backs this up. According to 2005-06 data, only 35.6% of newborns were breastfed within an hour of birth, which is lower than the current 56.4%. Doctors feel the proposed 26-week maternity leave for mothers can help improve nutritional status of the newborns across the country .
BABIES BORN TO SURROGATES MISS OUT
The concept of surrogacy might be a blessing to many childless couples, but in most cases, the baby is taken away from the surrogate mother immediately after birth without getting the crucial first-hour feed. Though the reason is to make sure there’s no emotional connect between the surrogate mother and the newborn, it takes a toll on the child’s nourishment. “Efforts must be made to make the couple understand the need to breastfeed the baby in the first hour. Even in case of the mother wanting to give away the newborn for adoption, we suggest that the mother breastfeed the baby for at least a month,” said Dr Shubha Rama Rao, head of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology, St Martha’s Hospital.
Original Source: http://bit.ly/2aTWDqy