Chennai: Experts from Nutrition International, a Canadian non-profit organization, emphasized that breast milk is like a vaccine that can provide lifelong nutrition for babies. They say it can boost immunity and cognitive abilities, reduce the risk of developmental delay, and protect babies from disease and death. The organization stated that breast milk is naturally rich in nutrients and antibodies, so it is more important to protect babies and mothers during the COVID19 period. They also emphasized the need to debunk the myths surrounding breastfeeding during the COVID19 pandemic.
During the World Breastfeeding Week in the first week of August, nutrition experts stated that COVID19 disrupted the services and health sub-centers provided by Anganwadis, and also reduced institutional delivery. This is a reduction in important pre- and post-natal services, pregnant women Consultation with breastfeeding women and weighing of children.
They pointed out that concerns about the spread of COVID19 infection through breast milk and rumors about it hindered this practice. They added that insufficient legislation on maternity leave, improper and unregulated marketing activities in the breast-milk substitute industry have also contributed to the decline in practice.
According to Mini Varghese, National Director of the International Nutrition Organization, India, ensuring that breastfeeding is implemented within one hour after delivery during delivery in all institutions will be an important step.
Regarding the myth and its adverse effects on breastfeeding, Nidhi Shrivastav, a worker from Anganwadi in Madhya Pradesh, said: “COVID19 positive mothers who gave birth refused to breastfeed because they were afraid of transmitting the infection to their babies. . are committed to helping these new mothers. And their family advises them on the life-saving benefits of breastfeeding. “
She added: “We also encourage them to take preventive measures such as hand washing, wearing masks and disinfecting surfaces to ensure breastfeeding safety.”
Nutrition International stated that although breastfeeding is profitable, baby food companies continue to attack and use their products to replace breastfeeding. He also mentioned that the World Health Assembly (WHA) approved the “International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes”, which recognizes that the commercial marketing of baby food is detrimental to the health of infants.
In India, the Production, Supply and Distribution Management of Baby Food and Bottles (Production, Supply and Distribution Management) Act 1992 and the Amendment Act 2003 (IMS Act) prohibit any form of promoting food for children under the age of two, the organization said. .
“Although India has laws to protect breastfeeding, it needs to take enforcement action,” Mini Varghese said. He added that relevant stakeholders, including professional associations, need to come forward and support the government to ensure that the IMS Act is actually implemented.