By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 6 Aug: Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from 1 to 7 August every year across the world. It is celebrated to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of children and mothers around the world. This year, the theme of Breastfeeding Week is “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility”. An awareness program on the importance of breastfeeding was organixed by Can Protect Foundation, here, in which Dr Sumita Prabhakar appealed to all mothers to breastfeed their newborn babies. A workshop for health workers, nurses and women and a workshop on breastfeeding for patients was organised at CMI Hospital. Dr Sumita Prabhakar urged the mothers to breastfeed the newborn within the first hour of delivery, adopt exclusive breastfeeding for a period of six months, and include it in the diet of the child for about two years. They were asked to take special care that the changing lifestyle does not affect breastfeeding. The benefits of breastfeeding are manifold, it was stated. Mother’s milk contains the right mix of nutrients for the physical and intellectual development of the baby. It is available at the right temperature and is easily digested in the baby’s intestine. Dr Apoorva Jain, Pediatrician at CMI Hospital, said that the antibodies in breast milk protect the baby from infections, allergies, asthma and other digestive disturbances, thereby reducing neonatal and infant mortality. Dr Sumita added that breastfeeding can help reduce the risk of carcinogenesis in women and provides muchneeded protection against breast cancer. Various studies have proved that mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of breast cancer. She also said that the ongoing vaccination campaign against COVID-19 is also focused on dispelling misconceptions about the safety of vaccines for pregnant women and lactating mothers. Breastfeeding can be done even during the COVID 19 pandemic. The virus is not transmitted through breast milk. However, the mother needs to take utmost care to protect the newborn if she is infected. Washing hands before and after touching the baby, wearing a proper mask and not sneezing near the baby, keeping surfaces clean and disinfected are precautions to be taken during breastfeeding for a COVID positive mother. Alternatively, a pump can be used to collect the milk and the baby can be fed from a feeding bottle. Dr Apoorva Jain, Dr Vinita, Dr Pooja, Dr Deepika and nursing personnel were present on this occasion.