IBFAN Africa 9th Regional Conference theme: "Prevention and Management of Chronic Malnutrition through Appropriate IYCF Practices." IBFANers are urged to source funds for participation in the Regional Conference to be held in Uganda. The conference which was earmarked for September/October 2014 has now been postponed to 2015 ; exact dates will be communicated in due course. Keep on visiting this site for more details.
Lesotho’s Queen ‘Masenate Bereng Seeiso has appealed to Basotho women to engage in exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months and beyond in a bid to have healthy and well fed babies who are free from diseases.
Baby Milk Action press release 16 April 2015... Click here
Newborn babies should be given to the mother to hold immediately after delivery. They should have skin-to-skin contact with the mother and begin breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
Skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding soon after birth stimulate production of the mother's breastmilk. Breastfeeding also helps the mother's womb contract, which reduces the risk of heavy bleeding or infection and helps to expel the placenta (afterbirth).
Colostrum, the thick yellowish milk the mother produces in the first few days after giving birth, is the perfect food for newborn babies. It is very nutritious and full of antibodies that help protect the baby against infections. Sometimes mothers are advised not to feed colostrum to their babies. This advice is incorrect. Newborns benefit from colostrum.
The newborn needs no other food or drink while the mother's milk supply is coming in and breastfeeding is being fully established. Giving any other food or drink may slow the production of milk. It can also increase the chance of diarrhoea and other infections. The milk produced by the mother is nutritious and the right amount for the newborn. The baby should breastfeed as often as she or he wants.
A baby who has problems suckling in the first few days should be kept close to the mother, offered the breast frequently, helped to take the breast and given breastmilk expressed directly into the mouth or fed expressed breastmilk from a clean cup (not from a bottle). The mother should receive help to improve the baby's attachment and suckling, and should also be shown how to express breastmilk, if necessary.
A mother's own milk is best for low-birthweight babies. However, not all of these infants are able to feed from the breast in the first days of life. For them, other options are available. In order of preference, they are: expressed breastmilk (from the mother); donor breastmilk (only if the donor is HIV-tested and the milk is correctly heat-treated); and infant formula. All of these should be given by cup, spoon or paladai (a cup feeding device), or medical tubes used by a trained health worker in a health facility.
Heat-treated breastmilk involves heating expressed breastmilk (enough for one or two feeds) in a small pan or in a metal container standing in a pan of water until it comes to a boil. The milk is then left to cool in a clean, covered container before it is fed to the baby by cup. A trained health worker can provide further guidance on expressing and heat-treating breastmilk.
It is best for the mother and her baby to stay together in the same room immediately after birth. If a mother gives birth in a hospital or clinic, she is entitled to have her baby near her, 24 hours a day. She should insist that no formula or water be given to her baby if she is breastfeeding.
Malawi: Between 1992 and 2010, the average rate of exclusive breastfeeding among infants less than 6 months of age increased from 3% to 71% in Malawi, representing an annual increase of 3-4 percentage points per year. Malawi’s progress on raising exclusive breastfeeding rates has been attributed to strong leadership in support of infant and young child feeding at all levels of government; well-articulated policies and guidelines; integrated services at the community level providing infant and young child feeding support through multiple channels; national advocacy and intensive mass education to increase support for and knowledge of breastfeeding; implementation of baby-friendly hospital initiative and links to prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV programmes.
Cambodia: In 2000, only 11% of Cambodian infants 0-6 months of age were exclusively breastfed. Five years later, this proportion had increased to 60%, and to 74% by 2010. In Cambodia 89% of births occur at home, and antenatal/postnatal care for women is rare. Cambodia’s strategy for increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates included identifying breastfeeding as the highest priority among child survival interventions in Cambodia; aligning strategies of partners to include breastfeeding promotion in all initiatives and services for infants and young children; establishing a sub-decree on the marketing of infant and young child products coupled with dissemination campaigns; launching a “Baby Friendly Child Initiative” involving both baby-friendly hospital initiative accreditation as well as establishment of mother’s support groups for home visits, and counselling and support for breastfeeding women at the village level; and a communication strategy that incorporated breastfeeding messages into popular TV and radio shows, trained journalists on key messages about breastfeeding, as well as national-level advocacy campaigns with high-level officials
Sri Lanka: Between 1995 and 2006/07, the average rate of exclusive breastfeeding among infants 0-6 months of age increased from 17% to 76%, an annual increase of roughly 5-6 percentage points per year. In Sri Lanka more than 95% of births occur in health facilities, and extensive lactation management training of health workers allowed for skilled lactation assistance to reach the majority of women after childbirth. Community outreach by public health midwives who perform two home visits in the first 10 days after delivery extended breastfeeding support into the community, which was coupled with a culture supportive of breastfeeding and parents. Finally, high political commitment, effective communication strategies and high literacy levels among women were also factors contributing to progress
The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommendations on breastfeeding are as follows: initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour after the birth; exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months; and continued breastfeeding for two years or more, together with safe, nutritionally adequate, age appropriate, responsive complementary feeding starting in the sixth month.
Breastfeeding has an extraordinary range of benefits. It has profound impact on a child’s survival, health, nutrition and development. Breast milk provides all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals an infant needs for growth for the first six months, and no other liquids or food are needed. In addition, breast milk carries antibodies from the mother that help combat disease. The act of breastfeeding itself stimulates proper growth of the mouth and jaw, and secretion of hormones for digestion and satiety.Read more...
Undernutrition causes almost one half of all deaths of children under 5—more than three million children out of 6.9 million child deaths in 2011.
If all babies were fed only on breastmilk for the first six months of life, an estimated 800,000 children would be saved every year. This figure is derived from the 2013 Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition finding that sub-optimal breastfeeding is responsible for 11.9% of all under five child deaths. Babies not exclusively breastfed in the first six months have a 14 times higher risk of death than exclusively breastfed infants, as well as a 10 times greater risk of death from diarrhoea, and 15 times greater risk of death from pneumonia compared to infants who are exclusively breastfed. Breast milk is the natural first food for babies, it provides all the energy and nutrients that infants need in the first months of life, it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life. Breast milk cannot be duplicated by any artificial means—nothing comes close to the original. Although global rates of exclusive breastfeeding rates have increased from 14% in 1985, they have remained stagnant since 1990, with only 36% of children less than six months exclusively breastfed in 2012.Read more...
Key message of the week
Almost every mother can breastfeed successfully. Breastfeeding the baby frequently causes production of more milk. The baby should breastfeed at least eight times daily, day and night, and on demand.
A mother's breasts make as much milk as the baby wants. If the baby suckles more, more milk is produced. Almost every mother can successfully breastfeed and produce enough milk when:
• she breastfeeds exclusively
• the baby is in a good position and is well attached to the breast, with the breast well in the baby's mouth
• the baby feeds as often and for as long as she or he wants, including during the night, and is kept on the breast until she or he has finished suckling. The baby should finish feeding from one breast before being fed from the other breast.
Holding the baby in a good position makes it easier for the baby to take the breast well into the mouth and suckle.
Signs that the baby is in a good position for breastfeeding are:
• the baby's head and body are in line
• the baby is close to the mother's body
• the baby's whole body is turned towards the mother
• the baby is relaxed, happy and suckling.
Holding the baby in a poor position can cause difficulties such as:
• sore and cracked nipples
• the baby does not receive enough milk
• the baby refuses to feed.
Signs that the baby is well attached:
• more of the dark skin around the mother's nipple (areola) can be seen above the baby's mouth than below it
• the baby's mouth is wide open
• the baby's lower lip is turned outward
• the baby's chin is touching the mother's breast.
Signs that the baby is suckling well:
• the baby takes long, deep sucks
• the cheeks are round when suckling
• the baby releases the breast when finished.
Generally, the mother does not feel any pain in her breast when breastfeeding.
From birth, the baby should breastfeed whenever she or he wants. A baby should be fed on demand at least eight times in a 24-hour period, during both the day and the night. If a newborn sleeps more than three hours after breastfeeding, she or he may be gently awakened and offered the breast.
Crying is not a sign that the baby needs other foods or drinks. It normally means the baby wants to be held and cuddled more, the baby's diaper or nappy needs changing, or the baby is too hot or cold. Some babies need to suckle the breast for comfort. More suckling produces more breastmilk, which helps satisfy the baby's feeding needs. If the baby cries a lot and does not settle after feeding and being cuddled, the mother may need additional breastfeeding support or the baby might not be well. A trained health worker should be consulted.
Using pacifiers, dummies or bottles can interfere with establishing breastfeeding in the baby's first months of life, as the sucking action for these is different from suckling at the breast. The baby may become used to the bottle teat or pacifier and refuse the breast. This may cause less suckling time at the breast, which reduces milk production. Pacifiers and bottle teats may become contaminated, increasing a baby's risk of illness.
Mothers who fear they do not have enough breastmilk often give their babies other food or drink in the first few months of life. This causes the baby to suckle less often, so less breastmilk is produced. The mother will produce more milk if she does not give the child other food or liquids and if she breastfeeds often.
Mothers need to be reassured that they can feed their babies under 6 months of age properly with breastmilk alone, and they need to be shown how to do it. All mothers, especially those lacking the confidence to breastfeed, need encouragement and support from the child's father and their families, neighbours, friends, health workers, employers and women's organizations. A mother who has undergone a Caesarean birth may require extra help to begin breastfeeding her baby.
Skilled birth attendants can raise awareness and understanding about the benefits of breastfeeding. They should support mothers to initiate and continue breastfeeding and help fathers and other family members accept breastfeeding as a natural and nutritious practice that protects the life of the baby.
1. Conflicts of interest
The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) initiative: IBFAN’s concern about the role of businesses
The INTERNATIONAL BABY FOOD ACTION NETWORK (IBFAN) is a 33 year-old global network that works to protect, promote and support breastfeeding and food-based complementary feeding, in realization of a child’s right to health and adequate food. IBFAN is committed to working with governments, the United Nations and other organisations to address child survival and to draw the world’s attention to strategies that tackle malnutrition in a just, equitable and sustainable way, giving priority to peoples’ ability to produce and access nutritious foods locally.
Breastfeeding and child survival, the most effective intervention gets the least attention
Breastfeeding tops the list of effective preventive interventions for child survival. Together with appropriate complementary feeding these two have more impact even than immunization, safe water and sanitation.There is no food more locally produced, affordable and sustainable than breastmilk. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of diarrhea, chest infections (the biggest killers of children) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancers. It is also an important factor in child spacing for the millions of women who have no access to modern forms of contraception.In the second year of life breastfeeding can provide 29% of energy requirements, 43% of protein, 75% of Vitamin A, 76% of Folate, 94% of vitamin C. An analysis by Action Against Hunger (ACF) show that breastfeeding is the 3rd least popular intervention in terms of funding and that product-based micronutrient interventions are now dominating the nutrition scene.