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No alternative to breast milk for healthy growth of babies

DHAKA, May 29, 2017 (BSS) - Proper foods are very important for nutrition, living and physical growth of the infants. The great creator has arranged for feeding of only food from the human body for infants and that is breast milk of mother.

There are three determinants for good health, nutrition and living for the babies. These are safety, care and disease control, and breast milk of mother is a unique example of the combination of the three.

With the arrival of human child in the earth, food is getting prepared in the breast of every mother for her expected baby. When a newborn is taken in the breast of the mother immediately after the birth, the baby could quench his/her hunger and thirst. The milk that a child gets at first from the mother is colostrum.

Though the quantity of colostrum is less, it is adequate for limited capacity of the immature stomach of the newborns. This colostrum not only quenches the hunger and thirst of babies, it also provides various ingredients to the babies to keep them healthy. That's why the colostrum is called the "first vaccine" of the life.

The babies are not only benefitted from breastfeeding, rather mothers, their families and overall the society are also benefitted from it. Breastfeeding also prevents five different diseases alongside providing necessary nutrition to the babies for the first six months. The babies remain freed from various diseases in their childhood due to breastfeeding.

Breast milk plays a very important role in physical growth of the babies and protecting their health. The children get proper nutrition, healthy growth and all nutrients for their mental growth if they are given breast milk. They get protection from infection of trachea, diarrhea and other deadly diseases.

Science also links breast milk to a higher IQ. A long-term study, conducted by the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil, collected information on breastfeeding from babies born in Brazil in 1982. The study interviewed 5,914 new mothers and then followed 68 percent of their infants into adulthood to age 30.

The study concluded that breastfeeding positively contributed to education, school achievement and improved performance in intelligence tests 30 years later and even resulted in higher monthly incomes. Though the mothers of Bangladesh feed breast milk to their infants, this practice lagged behind to some extent due to various reasons. But awareness among the people has been increased thanks to a massive campaign on breastfeeding. The rate of giving breast milk to the six-month-old babies stood at 64 percent from 47 percent in the last five years.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), preventing immature death of 15 lakh children is possible if all babies of the world aged 0-6 months are only fed breast milk.

Nutritionists think that the government will have to gear up its campaign on breastfeeding and supplementary food.

According to paediatricians, there are 200 nutrition ingredients in the breast milk, and no other foods in the world have such nutrients. The nutritionists said it's possible to save the life of at least 37,000 newborns if they are given breast milk within one hour of their birth. On the other hand, powdered milk and other processed baby foods increase child death rate by 25 percent.

As a food for the babies, breast milk is similar to gold. All pregnant mothers will have to be encouraged in giving breast milk to their babies immediately after their birth.

Malnutrition of mothers and children is one of the main barriers to building a healthy nation. So nutritious foods for the mothers will have to be ensured after the post-delivery period, so that babies could get adequate quantity of breast milk.

We should all make mothers aware that every mother is capable of feeding breast milk to her babies if she tries with patience.

The holy Quran has specifically mentioned about the time limit of breastfeeding that "Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period]. Upon the father is the mothers' provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable" (Sura Al Baqarah, verse-233).