World Health Organization and UNICEF celebrated Breastfeeding Week worldwide from August 1-7 to encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies safely. More than 170 countries in the world, including Nepal, are holding various public awareness programs for one week starting from August 1. After delivery, the yellow colostrum of the mother is very nutritious and healthy. Doctors say that since all the nutrients required by a baby up to 6 months are found in sufficient quantity in mother’s milk, breastfeeding should be started within half an hour after birth and breast milk should be fed 8 to 10 times in 24 hours. According to them, if babies are fed breast milk continuously for 2 years, their intellectual and physical development will be faster and they will remain healthy.
In Nepal, the number of mothers who breastfeed within an hour of birth is only around 45 percent. Similarly, 70 percent of women breastfeed for 6 months. On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Day, Jana Chikitsalaya located at Nhyokha Tole which lies in Ward No. 25, Kathmandu Metropolitan City, organized a program on August 6 with a view to generate public awareness about breast feeding.
President of the Chikitsalaya Bimala Manandhar, said that mothers do not breastfeed for fear of affecting their physical beauty, which is not true. “Now-a-days mothers have to go to work, so they feed them with bottle milk, due to which many problems arise, according to Bimala.” This may also be adversely affect the health of both the mother and the child, she points out. Bimala has been associated with this health facility, since its establishment some 41 year ago. Speaking at the programme Dr. Kalpana Upadhyay Subedi said that despite knowing that mother’s milk is like nectar for babies, the percentage of mothers who breastfeed their babies is only 42. She said that in recent times, there has been widespread public awareness on breastfeeding, but there has been no significant increase in the number of breastfeeding mothers due to various reasons. One should keep in mind about proper contact between baby’s mouth and mother’s breast as well as proper posture of the baby while feeding the baby, pointed out Dr. Jyotiratna Dhwakhwa speaking on the occasion.
Since 1992, World Breastfeeding Week has been celebrated every year from August 1 to 7.
By Pratima Sapkota