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44% of children

In 12 of 29 CEECIS countries are at risk of not developing to their potential due to poverty, stunting or both.

Dialogues with Experts: Breastfeeding – Foundation of Life

Print version
02 August 2018
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Dr. Kamola Salikhova - Deputy Director of the National Specialized Scientific and Practical Medical Center of Pediatrics. She is also the National Coordinator of the Breastfeeding Programme. Dr. Salikhova provides answers that are important both for nursing mothers and all family members.
  - Breastfeeding is a foundation of a child's health. Why is it important to start breastfeeding from the first moments of a child's life?

- Breast milk best ensures the adaptation of the newborn children to the conditions of their life "outside of their mother's womb". During the first two to three days after delivery, the mother's body generates colostrum. It is produced in small amounts, approximately 40-50 ml. on the first day, but it has everything the baby needs until the mature milk appears. Colostrum is rich in leukocytes and antibodies, especially immunoglobulin, and it contains a greater percentage of protein, minerals and fat-soluble vitamins (A, E and K).

Applying the newborn to the breast early, in the first 30 minutes after birth, and not limiting the child's sucking contribute to production of milk by the mother’s body. The amount of breastmilk produced is determined by and corresponds exclusively to the needs of the child.

Later, breastmilk helps prevent occurrence of bacterial infections that are dangerous for newborn children.  

- Why do pediatricians say that breast milk is the first vaccine for a child? Does breast milk supplement the protection of the child's health when receiving vaccines?

- Breast milk provides a unique protection against infections and allergies, and stimulates the proper development of the child's own immune system.

After the child’s birth, the skin, respiratory and digestion systems are actively colonized by the viral and bacterial flora. The protective properties of breast milk are determined by the natural transfer of passive immunity from the mother to the baby, providing the first line of protection from harmful microflora. This explains the fact that the morbidity and mortality rates among infants who are breastfed are significantly lower than that of children fed with formula.

Children who are breastfed are more likely to better accept vaccinations, the risk of adverse effects in these children is lower. Along with the timely vaccination, per the recommended immunization schedule, breastfeeding is an effective way to protect children from disease.

- What does it mean to feed the child properly? How often and for how long does should the child be breastfed? When and how to start supplementary feeding?

- Proper nutrition is exclusive breastfeeding until the child turns six months. This means that the baby needs to be fed only with breast milk, as it fully meets all nutritional needs of the infant.

At the age of six months, it is necessary to continue breastfeeding with appropriate complementary feeding up to the age two years or older. Supplementary feeding should be introduced gradually, using a bowl and a teaspoon intended only for the child. One should exclude feeding using a pacifier.

Breast milk continues to be the most important component of the child's diet, as it contributes to the development of the central nervous system, physical growth and intellectual development of the child. The emotional connection between the mother and the child is maintained, the child feels protected.

It is necessary to feed the child at her or his demand, both during the day and at night, for as long period as the child wants. It is recommended to continue breastfeeding up to the age of 2 or older.

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