Breastfeed your child- know why? - Seeker's Thoughts

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Breastfeed your child- know why?

Poor feeding is caused by a variety of incidents. It is different from picky eating, in which a baby may reject one form of milk for another, or a toddler may refuse certain foods. No matter what the precise cause of poor feeding, undernutrition is a top concern.
In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that 45% of child deaths are related to undernutrition.

Worldwide data 
According to the UNICEF report countries by breastfeeding rates shows that in high-income countries, more than one in five babies is never breastfed, whereas, in low-and middle-income countries, one in 25 babies is never breastfed.

Among the high-income counties, Ireland, France, and the USA had the three lowest breastfeeding rates.
In higher-income countries, the proportion of children who have never been breastfed is significantly higher than the number of children in low-and middle-income countries.
The high-income countries in the report were Australia, Barbados, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, UK, Uruguay, and the USA. The data for those countries were based on breastfeeding rate estimates from 2010 or more recently.

Of those countries, Uruguay ranked highest, with 98.7& of babies ever being breastfed, followed by Sweden and Oman, both 98%.
Ireland ranked lowest among these countries, with only 55% of babies ever being breastfed, followed by France with 63% and then the US with 74.4%.
The percentage of babies ever being breastfed was above 88% in all of those counties, reaching above 99% in Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The data for low-and middle-income countries were based on estimates of breastfeeding rates between 2010 and 2017, with the exception of China, where the estimate was based on 2008.

Where does India stand?
According to the national nutrition survey conducted by the government, in urban India malnutrition among children is characterized by the relatively poor level of breastfeeding, higher prevalence of iron and vitamin D deficiency as well as obesity due to long commute working mothers.
While in rural India there is a higher percentage of children suffering from stunting, underweight, wasting and lower consumption of milk products.

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Data shows that 83% of children between 12 and 15 months continued to be breast, a higher proportion of children in this age group residing in rural areas are breastfeed 85% compared to children in urban areas 76%. 

 Breastfeeding is inversely proportional to household wealth and other factors influencing this trend may include working mothers who have to travel long distances to reach their workplace.

Rural children receive meals more frequently in a day at 44$as compared to 37% or urban children. However, a higher proportion of children residing in urban areas 26.9% are fed an adequately diverse diet as compared to those in rural areas 19%.
In urban areas, children are overweight and obese in early age as indicated by subscapular skinfold thickness (SSFT). While 14.5% of children in the age group of 5 to 9 years in cities had higher (SSFT) than 5.3% in rural areas.

Reasons for poor feeding infants
One of the most common causes of poor feeding is premature birth. Premature babies are typically feeders because they often have not yet developed the skills needed for such and swallow milk. Still, feeding usually increases as the baby grows.
Other causes include congenital conditions such s herpes and jaundice and infections such as viral gastroenteritis. Once these conditions are treated, poor feeding usually subsidies.

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Beckwith Wiedemann Syndrome
Poor feeding can also be caused by the condition, such as Beckwith Wiedemann syndrome. This is an overgrowth syndrome that causes infants to be particularly large and grow at a considerably fast pace. It affects an estimated 1 in 13,700 new-born worldwide. Other serious conditions include:
  • congenital hypothyroidism: occurs when the thyroid fails to develop or function properly
  • hypoplastic left heart: a rare condition that occurs when the left side of the heart fails to develop properly and is unable to pump blood to the body
  • infant botulism: can occur when an infant ingests the Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which produce a dangerous toxin in the body that can affect breathing and eating
  • Down syndrome

For mother – there is an increased risk of several health problems
There are higher chances of heavy bleeding after birth, developing breast, or ovarian cancers, osteoporosis, or diabetes.

Health benefits of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding comes with both short and long term benefits.
Short term benefits for the baby include that breast milk coats the gut, provides good bacteria and helps protect babies from an illness; for mother, breastfeeding helps lose their pregnancy weight and balance post-pregnancy hormones.
As for long-term benefits, “moms who have gestational diabetes are more likely to get type 2 diabetes later on in life, but breastfeeding can lessen that risk and lessen diabetes in the child.
Any allergic disorders like asthma or allergies are less in breastfed babies. Then cancers in mom uterine and breast cancers actually are dose-related to breastfeeding. So the more months a mom breastfeeds it lessens her risk of getting breast cancer.
Human milk has immune cells as well as commensal bacteria, or good bacteria that help humans establish their microbiota. It is highly specialized sugars and proteins that help fight infections as well.
Some facts and recommendation on breastfeeding by WHO
Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival.
If breastfeeding were scaled up to near-universal levels, about 820 000 child lives would be saved every year (1). Globally, only 40% of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed.
WHO actively promotes breastfeeding as the best source of nourishment for infants and young children? This fact file explores the many benefits of the practice, and how strong support to mothers can increase breastfeeding worldwide.

WHO recommends that:
* mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth;
* infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development, and health, and thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, while continuing to be breastfed; and
* breastfeeding should continue for up to two years or beyond.

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Breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants. It gives infants all the nutrients they need for healthy development. It is safe and contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia, the two primary causes of child mortality worldwide. Breast milk is readily available and affordable, which helps to ensure that infants get adequate nutrition.
Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with a natural (though not fail-safe) method of birth control (98% protection in the first six months after birth). It reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer, type II diabetes, and postpartum depression.
An HIV-infected mother can pass the infection to her infant during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding. However, antiretroviral (ARV) drugs given to either the mother or the HIV-exposed infant reduces the risk of transmission. Together, breastfeeding and ARVs have the potential to significantly improve infants' chances of surviving while remaining HIV uninfected. WHO recommends that when HIV-infected mothers breastfeed, they should receive ARVs and follow WHO guidance for infant feeding.

WHO recommends that:
Mothers should continue breastfeeding at work 
Many mothers who return to work abandon breastfeeding partially or completely because they do not have sufficient time, or a place to breastfeed, express and store their milk. Mothers need a safe, clean and private place in or near their workplace to continue breastfeeding. 

Enabling conditions at work, such as paid maternity leave, part-time work arrangements, on-site crèches, facilities for expressing and storing breast milk, and breastfeeding breaks, can help.
* mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth;
* infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development, and health, and thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, while continuing to be breastfed; and
* breastfeeding should continue for up to two years or beyond.

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