On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week, the department of Pediatrics in collaboration with the Chandigarh Chapter of Indian Academy of Pediatrics and National Institute of Nursing Education (NINE) organized a symposium on breast feeding to highlight the importance of health care providers in urging new mothers to breastfeed their children.
The special week began on Sunday and will last until Saturday. It is promoted by UNICEF along with the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). “As part of the week’s activities, the department organized various sessions with doctors, nurses and prospective mothers to encourage new mothers to breastfeed their children within the first hour and maintain exclusive breast feeding for six months.
The theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is “Just 10 Steps – the Baby Friendly Way.” It highlights 10 strategies that WHO and UNICEF originally proposed in 1989 to help medical care providers promote breastfeeding in maternal health facilities worldwide.Dr Bhavneet Bharti, the organizing secretary said that the benefits of Breast feeding for children are beyond question, yet the rate of initiation of breast feeding within the first hour and exclusive breastfeeding is still only 23 and 46 per cent. respectively. She said that the information that mothers receive from healthcare providers exerts a strong influence on their attitudes to breastfeeding. Prof Sunit Singhi , Head , Department of Pediatrics exhorted the healthcare professionals to play a vital role in encouraging new mothers to breastfeed their newborns. Dr Anju Gupta explained the physiology of breast feeding in detail. She said that the best way to increase the production of milk is encourage more suckling by the baby. Dr Alka Khadwal discussed about the challenges of Relactation and Induced lactation ( in case of Failures ) which she felt can be successful only with the willingness of the mothers. Mrs Rama , Uma and Santosh gave practical demonstrations about the various skills required in breast feeding. Dr Kanya gave various tips for feeding the babies in difficult situations such as Maternal diseases like HIV , Tuberculosis , diabetes mellitus etc. Suman , social workers made visits to the community to encourage mothers to breast feeds in underprivileged populations in the construction workers. She also held focal group discussions with the pregnant mothers and informed them about the benefits of early initiation of breast feeding soon after birth. The students of NINE made the programme lively by doing Role plays and highlighting the difficulties the health care providers and mothers face in promoting breast feeding.