Opelousas General Health System Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week & National Breastfeeding Month

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This year, the USA took issue with the language of the World Health Assembly resolution proposed in May calling for member nations to "promote, support and protect" breastfeeding.

Only thirty-three percent of mothers breastfeed their baby in Belize.

World Health Organization recommends that infants start receiving complementary foods at 6 months of age in addition to breast milk, initially 2-3 times a day between 6 and 8 months, increasing to 3-4 times daily between 9 and 11 months and 12-24 months with additional nutritious snacks offered 1-2 times per day, as desired.

Breast milk is rich in prebiotic human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) which are structurally complicated sugar molecules unique to human breast milk and helps in the development of the infant gut microbiota that ensures immunity against allergic diseases.

The question of exclusive breastfeeding as the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need has been a subject of several studies.

Last Wednesday, the Ministry launched the 2018 World Breastfeeding Week, with the theme: "Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life", aimed at linking nutrition security with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II).

They also viewed that malnutrition is responsible, directly or indirectly, for about one thirds of deaths among children under five years old. Breastfeeding is important, as it significantly boosts a baby's immune system and helps protects them from various illnesses.

The nutritionist emphasized the importance early initiation, exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding to the health of mothers, children and the economy. Exclusive breastfeeding also helps to bring about bonding of baby and mother and helps delay a new pregnancy. "It is recommended to meet a Lactation Counsellor at least 20 days before the mother joins back to work", Satyan adds.

"Breastmilk can be refrigerated for up to eight hours and frozen for up to six months in good condition for mothers who will be away from home".

After the first feed, babies are to be breastfed on demand that is whenever the baby shows signs of hunger day and night.

"Yet each year, millions of newborns miss out on the benefits of early breastfeeding and the reasons - all too often - are things we can change because mothers simply don't receive enough support to breastfeeding within those crucial minutes after birth, even from medical personnel at health facilities", said Mr Fore. The bank has been supplying milk for babies in the city, both in the private and government hospitals, for ten months now.

Sayce said for a successful breastfeeding journey every new mom needs a plan which should include what to do in the first hours following birth, and who they can contact for support.

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