Thursday , October 21 2021

They warn that breastfeeding rates are far below what is recommended


Babies must receive breast milk as the only food in the first six months Credit: Shutterstock

The return of work, the lack of space for breastfeeding and disinformation affect the neglect of this practice; only 42% of babies only receive breast milk from mothers for up to six months

Although last year there were 7% more women breastfeeding their babies during the first six months of life, promotion of breastfeeding continues to be a delayed problem in public health. An official report shows that while 68% of mothers put babies into the breast in the first hour of their lives, only 42% had a recommended 180-day exclusive breastfeeding, according to the new edition of the National Breastfeeding Survey (Enalac). That is, almost 60% of babies not only receive breast milk for up to six months.

"The figures are far below what we want," said Guadalupe Mangialavori, survey coordinator of the National Directorate of Maternity and Child and Youth (Dinamia) from the Ministry of National Health. And he added: "We have to prioritize breastfeeding for its various benefits, this is very urgent."

Back to work or study, lack of "friendly space" for breastfeeding and even information that is wrong to influence the decision to leave.

In reviewing whether the time spent by mothers and their babies during the day affects the continuity of breastfeeding, the results confirm this. An average interval of four hours per day is considered. This period is enough for breastfeeding to decline from 91.6% to 85.9% in those under six months or 79.9% to 72.7% in those over the age of one year.

"We must ensure that all institutions, universities and workplaces have space for breastfeeding and respect for women who are breastfeeding," Mangialavori added. "Often, the first barrier is the employer, who must give way, time, but often colleagues, who are far more tolerant of what
break to go smoking that he will do that
break to express milk. "

Already in the first survey of myths and beliefs in the population that the Argentine Milk League was made three years ago, half of those over the age of 16 participated in equating breast milk with artificial versions on the market.

"If the population thinks that formula milk is as good as breastfeeding, we are in trouble as a society," Mangialavori said, "nursing mothers do not give formula milk, we experience serious health problems in feeding children because they don't judge".

Breast milk is also associated with a positive effect on body weight during growth. "In addition to providing all the nutrients a baby needs in the first six months of life and protecting against childhood diseases (diarrhea and respiratory infections), there is increasing evidence that breastfeeding can have benefits." The term is longer, such as reducing the risk of being overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence, "reports the World Health Organization." This reduces 26% overweight and 35% the incidence of type 2 diabetes, "said the Dinamia team.

Reduce risk

Babies must receive breast milk as the only food in the first six months of life. Only then should we combine half-solid food and continue breastfeeding in a complementary manner for at least two years. This, as noted in the report, divides the risk of diarrhea and a third of the likelihood that children experience respiratory infections, including hospitalizations for this reason. Bronchiolitis is the most common lung infection, especially before the age of two years. Research that the Baby Foundation has been doing for years in the country supports breastfeeding among natural protection factors against syncytial respiratory viruses, which every year a child hospital guard collapses.

Enalac has a representative sample of the population for almost one and a half years from each province: 18,566 babies, organized in two groups, under six months and boys between 12 and 15 months. Unlike the previous edition since 2007, the Mangialavori team considered sociodemographic and health indicators to improve the results.

In eight provinces there were changes with respect to previous years of breastfeeding in the smallest group. While in Tierra del Fuego, Buenos Aires, Jujuy, La Pampa and San Luis values ​​increased, in Misiones, San Juan and Santa Fe declined.

Infant formula milk is the most common substitute for breast milk in children under six months (59%), while cow's milk is the least frequent choice (8%).

"Almost all babies can receive breast milk and all women can breastfeed," they said from Dinamia, "there are only a few contraindications (total or partial), such as galactosemia (accumulation in the body galactose, lactose sugar in breast milk), HIV infection or phenylketonuria (difficulty in processing protein, phenylalanine, from food), so the health team must be vigilant and trained not to interfere with breastfeeding.

Attention data is shown, for example, exclusive breastfeeding is much lower in children born prematurely (before seven months' gestation) or less than those who exceed 2500 grams at birth (34, 7 and 54.7, respectively). %).

"A baby born with a low birth weight who leaves an institution without breastfeeding is the responsibility of the health team, and every opportunity that we don't protect at the start is an opportunity we lose," Mangialavori said.

Reports at the national level

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

68 p
or one hundred

They are the mother who puts the baby into the breast in the first hour of life

26 percent

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

59 percent

Mothers choose formula milk as the most common substitute for breastfeeding in children under six months

Tools that are underutilized

In the free line 0800-222-1002 (option 7) the Ministry of National Health only received 184 consultations on breastfeeding from all over the country. The most common doubts are related to the low amount of milk for babies, breast pain, how appropriate for breastfeeding, if drugs can be used during breastfeeding, how to overcome them during separation to go to work, how to save milk and how ideal age weaning.

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