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Breastfeeding of new-born babies during the first hour after birth is less than 50 percent in India

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

New Delhi: Only 44.6% Indian mothers are able to breastfeed their babies within the first hour after birth, the lowest among South Asian countries.

babymThe findings have been revealed in a report prepared by the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) and the Public Health Resource Network (PHRN) as part of WHO’s World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi), according to Times of India report.

The TOI quotes Arun Gupta, the BPNI central coordinator as saying: “It is not understandable why only 44% of women are able to begin breastfeeding within an hour when more than 75% of women deliver in institutions as claimed by PM Modi.”

The WBTi revealed that out of 150 points, India scored only 78 in breastfeeding assessment. This is only a marginal improvement over 2012 score of 74. The report further suggests that out of out of 26 million children who are born in India, as much as 14.5 million children may have been deprived of optimal feeding during their first year.

Though, only 44.6% children are fed within first hour of their birth, around 64.9% children get breastfed till 6 months. Around 50.5% babies get complementary food within 6-8 months.

Lack of monitoring, absence of data, inefficient policies are among the reasons that has resulted in India performing poorly. The recommendations given in the report to improve this situation includes: effective monitoring, national policy on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), maternity protection and revival of baby-friendly hospitals.

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Breast Milk Has a Positive Impact on the Infant’s Cognitive Development: Study

Breast milk boosts brain development in babies

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Breast Milk
Maternal factors, such as breast milk, having been shown to affect a baby's development. Pixabay

With maternal factors, such as breast milk, having been shown to affect a baby’s development, now health and lifestyle researchers have found that the carbohydrate, the oligosaccharide 2’FL, found in breast milk enhances cognitive development.

In this cohort study of 50 mothers and their babies, the researchers analysed breast milk composition and frequency of feeding at 1 and 6 months of age.

Cognitive development was measured at 24 months using the Bayley-III scale, a standardised test of infant and toddler development.

“Through our high-throughput analytical platform we can quantify oligosaccharides like 2’FL and many others in hundreds of breast milk samples in a short period of time,” said study co-author Lars Bode from University of California in the US.

Breast Milk
Increased neurodevelopment provided by breast milk was due primarily to mothers who were producing more 2’FL for the baby to consume. Pixabay

“This technology allows us to associate differences in milk composition with specific infant outcomes like cognitive development, validating existing data from preclinical models or generating entirely new hypotheses,” Bode added.

The findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, showed that the amount of 2’FL in breast milk in the first month of feeding was related to significantly higher cognitive development scores in babies by 2 years of age.

The amount of 2’FL in breast milk at 6 months of feeding was not related to cognitive outcomes, indicating that early exposure may be more beneficial.

Using a statistical technique called mediation analysis, the researchers were able to independently evaluate the effects of breastfeeding in general, and the effects of the oligosaccharide 2’FL.

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“This enhanced cognitive development in the first 2 years of life raises the question of possible long term impact on a child – in school and beyond,” said study first author Paige Berger.

These observations allowed the team to conclude that the increased neurodevelopment provided by breastfeeding was due primarily to mothers who were producing more 2’FL for the baby to consume. (IANS)