- The National Family Health Survey 4 (NFHS) states 50.3 per cent children below 6 months in Haryana are exclusively breastfed.
- The state had a coverage of 16.9 per cent children below 6 months as per NFHS 3 data.
- In India, around 55 per cent children under the age of 6 months are exclusively breastfed, increasing from 46.4 per cent in 2005-06, according to the NFHS 4 data.
- India aims to bring 90 per cent children to breastfeeding within an hour of birth.
Gurgaon, Aug 06, 2018: Marking a three-fold increase since last decade, 50.3 per cent children below 6 months in Haryana are breastfed, according to the data National Family Health Survey 4 (NFHS). The state recorded an abysmal 16.9 per cent coverage of children below 6 months during NFHS 3.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has time and again highlighted the importance of exclusive breastfeeding to children below 6 months.It is an ideal food for the healthy growth and development as breast milk is full of essential nutrients that builds the child’s immunity and promotes sensory and cognitive development. Breast milk is a good source of vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, and E, among other things,” says Dr. Nupur Gupta, Senior Consultant & Unit Head, Obstetrics and Gynecology Paras Hospital, Gurgaon.
Breastfeeding reduces child mortality and morbidity, malnutrition, and chances of contacting diseases such as diarrhea and anemia. It enables children to fight ear infections, pneumonia, lymphoma, leukemia, Crohn’s disease, asthma, eczema, diabetes, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
However, a little more than half of infants in India are exclusively breastfed until 6 months as NFHS 4 data shows 55 per cent of children in this age group receive breast milk. In India, about one lakh children succumb to diarrhea and pneumonia, diseases that are preventable through adequate breastfeeding. Together with China, Indonesia, Mexico, and Nigeria, India account for over 2,36,000 child death every year due to inadequate breastfeeding.
“We certainly need more enabling measures to improve the access to human milk. The donor milk banks are a good move and will help those children who cannot otherwise get their mother’s milk. The mothers need better support system such as peer-to-peer and group counselling to be able to feed the child. Also, our public spaces need to be more genial towards these mothers so that they do not have to restrict the number of feeds,”says Dr. Pooja Mehta, Senior Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynecology Paras Hospital, Gurgaon.
Starting within one hour of birth, a child can be breastfed until the age of 2 to 3 years. India aims to bring 90 per cent children to breastfeeding within an hour of birth and has legally binding measures in place to deter infant formula and promote breastfeeding among mothers, such as the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods Act, (IMS Act) 2003 that regulates production, supply and distribution of infant milk substitutes. Last year, the government mandated public and private employers to increase paid maternity leave from 3 months to 6 months.
Paras Hospitals Gurgaon is among the leading providers of treatment and care in the field of neurosciences, cardiology, orthopedics, nephrology, gastroenterology, and critical care in India.