Monday , April 19 2021

They warn that breastfeeding values ​​are well below recommended

Babies should receive breastmilk as the only food in the first six months Credit: Shutterstock

The return to work, the lack of spaces for breastfeeding and disinformation influence the abandonment of this practice; only 42% of babies receive only mother's milk up to six months

Although last year there were 7% more women who breastfed their babies during the first six months of life, breastfeeding promotion remains a pending issue in public health. An official report indicates that while 68% of mothers put their baby in their first hour of life, only 42% have recommended exclusive breastfeeding for 180 days, according to a new edition of the National Breastfeeding Survey. Breastfeeding (Enalac). That is, almost 60% of babies do not only receive breast milk until six months.

"The numbers are far below what we would like," says Guadalupe Mangialavori, coordinator of the National Directorate of Maternity and Childhood and Adolescence (Dinamia) of the Ministry of Health of the Nation. And he adds: "We must prioritize breastfeeding for its multiple benefits, it is urgent."

The return to work or study, the lack of "friendly spaces" of breastfeeding and even the misinformation influence the decision to abandon it.

In reviewing whether the time the mother and the baby spend separated during the day influences the continuity of breastfeeding, the results have confirmed this. An average interval of four hours per day was considered. This period was sufficient for breastfeeding to decrease from 91.6% to 85.9% in those with less than six months or from 79.9% to 72.7% in those older than one year.

"We must ensure that all institutions, universities and workplaces have a place to breastfeed and respect the woman who breastfeeds," adds Mangialavori. "Often the first barrier is the employer, who has to give up time, but often co-workers, who are much more tolerant of what the
to break to smoke what he will do with
to break to express milk. "

Already in the first research on myths and beliefs in the population that the League of Milk Argentina did three years ago, half of the people over 16 who participated equipped the breast milk with artificial versions in the market.

"If the population thinks that infant formula is as good as breastfeeding, we are in trouble as a society," says Mangialavori, "breastfeeding mothers do not give formula, we are having a serious health problem in feeding children for not evaluating ".

Breast milk is also given a positive effect on weight during growth. "In addition to providing all the nutrients a baby needs in the first six months of life and protecting against common childhood illnesses (diarrhea and respiratory infections), there is growing evidence that breastfeeding may have long-term benefits such as reducing risk overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence, "reports the World Health Organization." It reduces 26 percent of overweight and 35 percent of the incidence of type 2 diabetes, "says the Dinamia team.

Reduce risk

Babies should receive breast milk as the only food in the first six months of life. Only then should we incorporate semi-solid foods and continue breastfeeding in a complementary way for at least two years. This, as noted in the report, halves the risk of diarrhea and a third of the chance of children having respiratory infections, including hospitalizations for these reasons. Bronchiolitis is the most common lung infection, especially before two years of age. The research carried out by the Children's Foundation for years in the country supports breastfeeding among the natural protection factors against the respiratory syncytial virus, which every year collapses the guards of pediatric hospitals.

Enalac had a representative sample of the population of almost a year and a half from each province: 18,566 babies, organized into two groups, with less than six months and boys between 12 and 15 months. Unlike the previous editions since 2007, the Mangialavori team took into account socio-demographic and health indicators to refine the results.

In eight provinces there were changes from previous years in breastfeeding in the group of minors. While in Tierra del Fuego, Buenos Aires, Jujuy, La Pampa and San Luis values ​​improved, in Misiones, San Juan and Santa Fe decreased.

Infant formula was the most common substitute for breast milk in children younger than six months (59%), while cow's milk was the least frequent option (8%).

"Virtually all children can receive breastmilk and all women can breastfeed", they say from Dinamia, "there are only a few contraindications (total or partial), such as galactosemia (accumulation in the body of galactose, lactose sugar in breast milk) , HIV infection or phenylketonuria (difficulty in processing a protein, phenylalanine, food), so that the health team is attentive and trained not to interfere unnecessarily in breastfeeding.

Attention data have indicated, for example, that exclusive breastfeeding is much lower in children who are born prematurely (before seven months of gestation) or underweight than in those who exceed 2,500 grams at birth (respectively, 34, 7 and 54 , 7%).

"A baby born with low birth weight who leaves the institution without breastfeeding is the responsibility of the health team, and any opportunity we do not protect at the beginning is an opportunity that we lose," says Mangialavori.

A report at national level

It is based on a sample of more than 18,000 babies

68 p
or a hundred

It is the mothers who put the baby to the breast in its first hour of life

26 per cent

With exclusive breastfeeding, this percentage is reduced by overweight and by 35%, the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children

59 percent

Of mothers chose infant formula as the most common substitute for breastfeeding in children younger than six months

An underutilized tool

In the nation's Ministry of Health, toll-free 0800-222-1002 (option 7), only 184 consultations on breastfeeding were carried out throughout the country. The most common doubts are related to the low amount of milk for the baby, pain in the breasts, how is the correct way to breastfeed, whether medicines can be used during breastfeeding, how to handle it during separation to go to work , how to conserve milk and what is the ideal age for weaning.

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