TACLOBAN CITY-Early initiation of breastfeeding is one of the core indicators of optimal feeding practices.
It is the proportion of children aged 0-24 months who are breastfed immediately or within one hour after delivery over the total number of 0-24 months old children born on the same period.
Breastfeeding within one hour after birth establishes breastfeeding and ensures that the child will receive its first “protection” from the immunoglobulin found in “colostrum”- the first form of milk produced by the mother’s breast.
It also protects the child from infectious and chronic diseases and promotes cognitive development. It also establishes mother-baby bonding and boosts the confidence of the mother to breastfeed.
A significant increase in the proportion of timely breastfeeding initiation was noted from 51.9% in 2011 to 77.1% in 2013, according to nutrition surveys by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST).
This may be partly due to the strengthened implementation of the Mother-Baby Friendly Hospital Initiatives (MBFHI) in both public and private hospitals and clinics.
The MBFHI facilities follow the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding Statements published by the World Health Organization as follows:
Every facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants should:
– Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
– Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
– Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
– Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within half an hour of birth.
– Show mothers how to breastfeed, and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
– Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
– Practise rooming-in – that is, allows mothers and infants to remain together – 24 hours a day.
– Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
– Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
– Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
How the child was taken cared of at birth and how was the baby was fed in particular, ultimately impact on health and survival. (PR)