Breastfeeding can fight malnutrition
Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is the optimal way of feeding infants to fight child malnutrition and stunting that affect 41 percent of the country's children under five, said speakers yesterday.
More than 24 children die in every 1,000 live births before reaching 28 days of age though about 31 percent of the deaths could be averted with exclusive breastfeeding, they said.
The speakers made the observations at an event organised by Civil Society Alliance for Scaling up Nutrition Bangladesh at Spectra Convention Centre in the capital marking World Breastfeeding Week.
Earlier the people of the country had always preferred to breastfeed babies. When different companies had started marketing baby foods in the country, the people started feeding those to their babies, said Sultana Kamal, executive director of Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), at the programme.
Dr Rukhsana Haider, chair of the alliance, said mothers in the country generally feed newborns with sweetened water or honey immediately after their birth instead of feeding those colostrums (first milk). This practice can diminish the child's appetite for breast milk, she added.
The speakers stressed the need for creating awareness among mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding.