Breastfeeding Boosts Immune System Of New-born Baby During Covid-19

Breastfeeding is an essential factor in reducing child mortality, high level of wasting, stunting, underweight, high levels of anaemia among children. An analysis of NFHS-4 shows breastfeeding within one hour is only 41.6% and exclusive breastfeeding (0-6 months) is only 54.9%.

It is noteworthy that in India institutional deliveries have increased almost up to 80% as per National Family and Health Survey-4 (2015-16) but irrespective of that, the rate of mothers breastfeeding within one hour of the birth or exclusively feeding their children is very low. This shows that somewhere we are missing on birth preparedness, counselling of mothers, weighing the benefits of breastfeeding to both mother and child. Exclusive Breastfeeding for the first 6 months followed by complementary feeding practices together can prevent almost one-fifth of deaths in children under five years.

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year for the last 29 years across the world from 1st to 7th August. This year the theme of the campaign is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”. The newly mothers find themselves surrounded by a plethora of the myths and misconception associated COVID-19. Recently, the data from the states have reported a drop in institutional deliveries. The Main Reasons for Drop-in Institutional Deliveries has been due to lockdowns, fear of infections and thus people avoiding the physical contact or preference to go to small nursing homes or delivery at homes. Now since the lockdown is opened up, it is very essential to address the issue of myths and misconception.

The World Health Organization (WHO) endorses that mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be encouraged to initiate or continue to breastfeed. Mothers should be counselled that the advantages of breastfeeding significantly outweigh the potential risks for transmission. Breastfeeding is especially effective against infectious diseases because it strengthens the system by directly transferring antibodies from the mother. Breastfeeding benefits baby’s Immune System. Mothers milk provides virtually all the protein, sugar, and fat your baby needs to be healthy, and it also contains many substances that benefit your baby’s immune system, including antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, and white blood cells.

(Inputs From IANS)

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