The government, international agencies such as UNICEF, and medical professionals recommend that women breastfeed. However, one of the greatest challenges to this is the fact that mothers on the go do not have private, hygienic spaces to breastfeed.
In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, Paras Bliss hospital, Panchukula, in collaboration with the Indian Dietetic Association (Chandigarh chapter) has conducted a CME (continuing medical education) on Human Milk to propagate the cause of breastfeeding in order to improve the health of babies all across the country. Through this CME Paras Bliss Hospital, Panchukula, has taken the initiative of launching a petition campaign to promote the idea of making public spaces breastfeeding-friendly to encourage the practice and improve the health of babies all across the country.
Speaking to the press, Dr Nirja Chawla, Director Gynecology & Obstetrics, Paras Bliss Hospital, Panchkula said, “This week is an opportunity for mothers, breastfeeding supporters and health professionals to come together and share what works well to support breastfeeding in local communities. Though breastfeeding is a natural phenomenon, doing so in public spaces is difficult for nursing mothers, as there are very few nursing rooms available. We support breastfeeding because of its beneficial effects on an infant’s nutritional, immunological, and psychological development. There are various proven maternal health benefits too. Hence we, at Paras Bliss, are promoting the need of breastfeeding rooms in public areas.”
Breast milk is the natural and first food for the babies, providing adequate calories, minerals, vitamins, and all nutrients for the initial months of his life. Beside the babies, breastfeeding is also beneficial for the new mother as it decreases the risks for breast and ovarian cancers, lowers the risk of osteoporosis, promotes maternal recovery from childbirth and also creates a supportive environment for mother and child bonding, said Dr Gunjan Pannu, HOD, Clinical Nutrition and Dietitian, Paras Bliss Hospital, Panchkula
The hospital has put out the petition campaign on social media and in online petition web channels for greater support of the campaign. It is being especially promoted by Deepa Antil, President, Sashakt Nari Parishad (SNP).
Dr Krishan Yadav, HOD, Neonatology, Paras Bliss Hospital, Panchkula said, “Breastfeeding brings with it some amount of anxiety, and it is our responsibility as a society to make mothers comfortable as they perform this essential task.”
The lack of public facilities may explain the fact that in developing countries, only 1 in 3 mothers breastfeed exclusively for six months. Almost 8, 00,000 children’s lives can be saved if they are breastfed exclusively as breast milk contains immune-boosting properties that protect the newborns from early infections.