Exclusive breastfeeding of children under six months reaches 64pc: studyUnited News of Bangladesh . Dhaka
The level of exclusive breastfeeding among children under six months has increased into 64 per cent in the country, according to a recent study report.
The level was 43 per cent in 2007.
The report also said that among infants less than two months, 85 per cent were being exclusively breastfed, while other infants were given water (6 per cent), other milk (7 per cent), and complementary foods (2 per cent) in addition to breast milk.
The preliminary report of Bangladesh Demography and Health Survey (BDHS)-2011, conducted by National Institute of Population Research and Training, revealed the information in April 2012.
Talking to the news agency on Sunday, former director of National Institute of Public Health and Nutrition Professor Fatema Parveen Chowdhury said increase in the exclusive breastfeeding rate had been possible due to major contribution and cooperation of the concerned government and private organisations.
During her tenure (November 2006 to January 2012), Fatema said that she initially started her work prioritising the Infant Young Child Feeding activities and enforcing proper implementation of the Brest Milk Substitute Act 1984.
‘More than 6,000 nurses and doctors were given orientation to specially motivate pregnant mothers to exclusively breastfeed their newborns,’ she said, adding that the media had played a vital role in creating awareness about good impact of breastfeeding.
She also said that increase in exclusive breastfeeding among children under six months had been possible as she started two prorammes - breastfeeding and complementary feeding - under a single initiative.
‘Many NGOs including ‘Alive and Thrive’, greatly helped me in this regard,’ she said, adding that IYCF strategy, IYCF plan of actions and IYCF training books were also made during her tenure to expedite the activities.
About the breastfeeding practices, the report said breast milk contains all the nutrients needed by children in the first six months of life.
‘Supplementing breast milk before the child is six months of age is also discouraged because it increases the likelihood of contamination, and hence risk of diarrhea,’ the report
It said that at the seventh month of the baby’s development, breast milk should be complemented by other solid or mushy food to provide adequate nourishment.
The report also said that the recommendation to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of life is met only by 64 per cent of children under two years. Complementary foods are introduced at an early age.
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