Consumer VOICE

Infant Foods

The practice of breastfeeding is almost universal in India barring a few urban educated women and the high socio-economic groups. The later groups too are now beginning to appreciate the advantages of breastfeeding.

Universally it is now recognized that breastfeeding is a very important aspect of infant care. At the same time there are many misconceptions about breast feeding and infant nutrition among many mothers.

Voice aims at making people aware of importance of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding. The role of international bodies towards protection of infant health and other food safety issues is also outlined.

What are the core Infant Food safety issues?

Protection of Infant Health through Breast feeding as Breast feeding is the first and the best feeding option for infants. Both UNICEF and WHO recommend exclusive breast feeding for the first six months of life followed by continued breast feeding with appropriate and adequate complementary food for upto 2 years and beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding means no fluid other than breast milk. Even water is not needed.

Breastfeeding works best when mothers are healthy and having a nutritious diet, able to receive personal health care services before, during and after pregnancy and made aware of good health practices for themselves and their babies.

What is the right way of infant feeding?

To breast feed successfully, a woman must be confident. This means that she must believe that she can do it. A woman with her first baby may be unsure as to how to put the baby to the breast. Putting the baby to the breast is very simple when one knows as to how to put the baby to the breast. Putting the baby to the breast is very simple when one knows what to do, otherwise it can create many problems and an inexperienced mother may give up trying in frustration. She therefore needs advice and support from friends and relatives who have themselves successfully breast fed their own babies. Her husbands support and understanding may also be a great help. 

The mother should be reassured that she has plenty of milk. She should be adsvised to sit or lie down in a comfortable and relaxed position embracing the baby by one hand when she feeds the baby.Sometimes warm drink also helps. The infant should be put to the breast in correct position so that feeding is not painful. She should be encouraged to feed the baby more often and for longer periods. How much milk a breast produces depends on how much the baby sucks. This is because the secretion of prolactin by the milk-producing reflex depends on the stimulus of sucking.. If a breast is seldom suckled, little milk is produced. If the baby is vigorous, strong, and hungry, and sucks often, more prolactin, and therefore more milk is produced.

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