breastfeeding – HTV https://htv.com.pk Fri, 05 Jun 2020 07:00:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why Mothers Are Finding It Difficult To Breastfeed Their Infants in Pakistan https://htv.com.pk/moms/breastfeed-infants-in-pakistan Wed, 10 Jul 2019 05:43:03 +0000 https://htv.com.pk/?p=45235

As per the National Nutrition Survey 2018 key findings published last month, there has been a steady increase in the proportion of children receiving breast milk during the first hour after birth between 2011 and 2018. However, the trend for exclusive breastfeeding is not linear. From 50% in 2001, it decreased to 37.7% in 2011 […]

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As per the National Nutrition Survey 2018 key findings published last month, there has been a steady increase in the proportion of children receiving breast milk during the first hour after birth between 2011 and 2018.

However, the trend for exclusive breastfeeding is not linear. From 50% in 2001, it decreased to 37.7% in 2011 and then again to 28% in 2018, bringing Pakistan close to the World Health Assembly target of 50%.

So why exactly has there been a decrease in women exclusively breastfeeding their infants?

Pediatrician at Margalla General Hospital Dr Nazia Abbasi says breastfeeding practices in Pakistan are decreasing every year due to multiple factors.

These factors include the fact that earlier only women who belonged to upper-class households used to avoid breastfeeding because they think it has an impact on their body shape among other things. But now women from the middle-class work full-time and don’t have the facility of daycare centers at their workplaces.

Shazia Luqman who works at a university in Islamabad gave birth to twins twice and never had complaints of less milk production. But she couldn’t take her kids to her workplace as it lacked the facility of a daycare center.

“At work I used to feel uncomfortable as I always felt the need to breastfeed as I had access milk production but had no choice but to wait. I couldn’t afford to quit my job,” she shares.

On the other hand, lower middle-class women complain about low milk production because of malnourishment.

Exclusive breastfeeding

According to the survey, the proportion of children who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life is highest in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (60.7%) and KP-NMD (59.0%), and lowest in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (42.1%) and Balochistan 43.9%.

Prevalence of the practice of continued breastfeeding is highest at one year of age at 68.4% and thereafter decreases to 56.5% at two years of age. Relative to the rates in 2011 this represents a decrease from 77.3% and an increase from 54.3%, respectively.

Dr Abbasi says children who are not breastfed for six months after their birth are more likely to suffer from various respiratory infections, such as, pneumonia and diarrhea. “Mothers must breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and continue it for at least the first year of the child’s life,” advises Dr Abbasi.

However, in urban areas a lot of women cannot breastfeed because there are no daycare centers at their workplaces, informs Dr Abbasi. On the other hand, most offices and organizations don’t allow children at work. “There is no replacement for mother’s milk and formula milk can never be a good substitute to it,” she says.

Related: Breastfeeding Tips For New Moms

It is also important to note that only a small segment of the society can in fact afford formula milk. Dr Abbasi explains that a lot of children are also malnourished because most people turn to lose milk as formula milk is a financial burden, and the former can affect the child’s physical growth and cause various infectious diseases.

Medical officer at the pediatrician department at the Mayo Hospital, Dr Imran Shah says that after six months the child can be fed comfort food. This may include khichri, semolina, kheer and banana. Hence, in case the child can’t be breastfed exclusively, he/she should be fed comfort food.

Moreover, lack of awareness also leads to a decrease in mothers breastfeeding their infants. For instance, a lot of women believe they cannot breastfeed their children if they have Hepatitis or TB.

However, Dr Shah clarifies that women who have AIDs are not allowed to breastfeed. Women who have TB and Hepatitis can breastfeed their children.

He also pointed out that the infant should be breastfed in the first hour of its birth as the mother’s milk has colostrum, which has antibodies and it boosts the strength to fight against diseases.

Most importantly, breastfeeding also strengthens the bond between the mother and the child, he elaborates. “It is also a natural contraceptive and reduces the chances of breast cancer in mothers,” mentions Dr Shah.

How to promote breastfeeding?

Dr Shah says there are things that can be done on governmental level like organizing lectures by medical field officers who talk about the importance of breastfeeding.

“When lady health workers visit houses and talk about these issues, women don’t pay attention to it thinking they are women of their [own] areas, hence they think how can they teach us.”

On the other hand, as the employment rate of women has increased, offices should be encouraged to set up a separate nursing room for mothers, recommends Dr Shah.

Related: When Does Breastfeeding Stop Hurting?

Dr Abbasi also says that companies need to revise their policies. “In Pakistan most women don’t get paid leaves and are required to forgo income in order to breastfeed,” she says. “In a country like Pakistan, breastfeeding should not be viewed as a personal choice as almost all women do understand how important breastfeeding is for the health of their children,” she adds.

There is a need to recognize the social and economic realities that curtail options for women who want to breastfeed their kids.

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What You Should Do If You Are Fasting While Breastfeeding Your Child https://htv.com.pk/womens-health/fasting-while-breastfeeding Sun, 12 May 2019 12:47:12 +0000 https://htv.com.pk/?p=44500

Ramazan is the month of spiritual overhaul but most women who breastfeed are indecisive about fasting. Some fast and some don’t, such as Ayesha Parveen, who fasts but finds it quite challenging as she breastfeeds her one-year-old son Mohammad Tahir. “I feel dizzy especially after 12pm and then it’s quite hard to spend the rest […]

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Ramazan is the month of spiritual overhaul but most women who breastfeed are indecisive about fasting. Some fast and some don’t, such as Ayesha Parveen, who fasts but finds it quite challenging as she breastfeeds her one-year-old son Mohammad Tahir.

“I feel dizzy especially after 12pm and then it’s quite hard to spend the rest of the day. I have no energy to do anything and it’s impossible to lie down even for a couple of hours when you have three kids to take care of,” she says.

The 36-year-old says, this Ramazan she is fasting on alternate days, but she really wishes to know what sort of diet a woman can take that gives her energy as well as motivation to fast.

On the other hand, Saria Majid, who had a baby girl, Bareera Siddiqui, just two months ago, chooses to fast and she says it’s completely fine for her. “I intend to fast during the whole month as I did when my first child, Ali Siddiqui, was born three years ago,” she says. Majid adds Ramazan came when Ali was seven months old and she kept fast for all 30 days. But, she used to give Ali some table food. “I feel Bareera feels hungry as I cannot feed her more so I give her some water and she falls asleep. I am not sure whether I should feed her water or not.”

Islam and breastfeeding in Ramazan

Mufti Faisal Japanwala, who teaches Islamic Studies at Iqra University, says women are allowed to not fast for two years while they breastfeed. But, after two years they have to make up for their missing fasts. “If a woman thinks her child’s health is affecting negatively due to her fasts then she must stop fasting as the child’s health is more important than anything. Moreover, that is the matter of human health and life.”

Japanwala shares Islam also allows mothers to hire breastfeeders for their children, if they can afford, because children less than six-month-old should be breastfed exclusively.

Exclusive breastfeeding

According to Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2017-18, in Pakistan, 48% of children under the age of six months are exclusively breastfed. The median duration of exclusive breastfeeding is 1.6 months.

Exclusive Breastfeeding is defined as “only breastfeeding and no additional food, water or other fluids for the first six months of life,” as per the WHO definition.

Related: When Does Breastfeeding Stop Hurting?

Zohra Ashraf Kurji, who works as a lactation consultant and also teaches at the Aga Khan University, clarifies that feeding a two-month-old baby water is harmful as he/she can suffer from diarrhea if the water is contaminated. Children less than six months should not be given honey and water.

Clinical Dietitian Hira Farooq says breast milk contains all the nutrients a child needs in the first six months of life so the best thing is to feed the child only mother’s milk. Also, breastfeeding prevents infections, such as, diarrhea and respiratory illnesses.

Farooq explains a child till the age of six months completely relies on mother’s milk. Therefore, it is advised that women breastfeeding their child in its first six months should not fast and if they do, they are basically endangering the health and life of their child. However, Kurji also advises that if a child is irritable due to hunger then the mother must start a complementary feed.

Breastfeeding and fasting 

Kurji explains that when a mother fasts she becomes micro-nutrient (zinc, potassium, magnesium) deficient, therefore, she must take special care of her diet.

For examples, she should increase her water intake and must consume at least two liters of water during the non-fasting hours.

Moreover, Kurji says if a mother takes a balanced diet and breastfeeds it will not have any negative impact on her child’s health. However, the mother must recognize signs of dehydration, such as, headache, dizziness and dark urine.

And as for the child, Kurji adds, if he/she doesn’t get proper milk he/she will be cranky. Therefore, a mother should check the child’s behavior along with checking how many times the child passes urine and if the child is sleeping well, is cheerful and his/her weight is maintained. If these things check out positive, then there is no need to fret over the child’s health.

As far as a one-year-old child is concerned, she mentions that the child can be given table food and thus the mother should not breastfeed during the fasting hours.

Storing breast milk

If a mother doesn’t want to skip her fasts then she should pump her milk at night and store it in the fridge. “Breast milk should not be heated on a stove or microwave as doing so will attract germs and will become harmful for the child,” Kurji warns, and suggests that the mother’s pumped milk should be indirectly heated. It should be heated through pouring warm water in a big bowl and then putting the feeder in it to warm milk.

Related: Breastfeeding Tips For New Moms
A balanced diet

Talking about the diet Farooq says, women must increase their milk intake and should drink at least three glasses of milk. If they are unable to do so, then they must consume yogurt and lassi. They should eat small portions of food during non-fasting hours, and eat fruits – something Farooq suggests should be a must for all breastfeeding mothers. They should also avoid eating spicy and oily foods like pakoras and samosas at iftar time, and eat proper food instead.

Moreover, mothers must remain indoors and hydrated considering the heat and humidity this season.

Preparing for Ramazan

Breastfeeding is a child’s primary right and it should be a mothers’ priority. A mother can fast but she should not compromise on her child’s health.

Thus, before the month of Ramazan approaches, Kurji suggests that mothers should visit a lactation consultant and ask for guidelines for fasting.

 

Image source by : http://www.stroller-envy.com/

 

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When does Breastfeeding Stop Hurting? https://htv.com.pk/moms/breastfeeding-stop-hurting Mon, 27 Nov 2017 13:15:47 +0000 http://htv.com.pk/?p=29892

Breastfeeding can be one of the most difficult experiences for most new mothers. Since babies need food often, they tend to be attached to your breasts for a major part of the day. This results in dry and parched nipples which become sore, red and cracked. Hence the reason why the strongest of women tend […]

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Breastfeeding can be one of the most difficult experiences for most new mothers. Since babies need food often, they tend to be attached to your breasts for a major part of the day. This results in dry and parched nipples which become sore, red and cracked. Hence the reason why the strongest of women tend to break down when it comes to feeding their little angels.

The question that comes to mind though, is this: does the pain ever end while you are breastfeeding? Here are some answers for you pained mothers out there!

The Art of Breastfeeding

When does Breastfeeding Stop Hurting?3

Other than the very first few days, breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt at all, not if your baby and you are doing it the right way. As mentioned above, the first few days it is painful because you are not used to it. Since the baby feeds 2-3 hours straight sometimes, this gives way to nipples that turn red and sore. Some women’s breasts become so painful that they even start bleeding.

But again, it needs to be stressed that this happens for say 10-15 days only. Once your baby learns how to suckle and also fixes his/her times of feedings, you get some relief.


If you continue to hurt even after a fortnight, you need to see your lactation consultant or gynecologist. Your baby may not be latching properly, or your breasts may have blocked milk ducts or mastitis.  

Latching Issues

There are times when a baby is not latching on or taking the nipple in mouth properly. Proper latching is when the baby not simply takes the tip in their mouths, but the entire areola or the brown part.


If your baby wasn’t thatching properly and that was causing pain, you will notice the difference immediately. Pain will reduce drastically.

Take help from your doctor is you are unable to do it yourself. Don’t suffer the pain in silence!

Mastitis

This is a condition where the milk ducts get blocked because of excessive milk production. If you have been going through this, you might need medication.


For most women, hot compress to the breasts helps in unblocking. Try it but if that too doesn’t work, see your gynecologist immediately.

Yeast Infection or Thrush

This is another problem that can cause so much pain. If the pain is a type of burning sensation or soreness, it might be thrush. Get to a doctor ASAP! Don’t think that the yeast infection will go away on its own.


You will need some medication for the condition to get better and the sooner you get treatment the better.

Lanolin Ointments

When does Breastfeeding Stop Hurting?1

These are easily available in pharmacies and are best for irritation and soreness.


Make sure you apply them immediately after feeding session is done and wipe them off before feeding your baby again.

Breastfeeding is tough, but think how much it is benefiting your baby. Also it is the perfect opportunity for you to bond with your angel. Relax and chill while your baby feeds. Be sure to drink milk and lots of water for good milk production.

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Breastfeeding linked to better childhood behavior https://htv.com.pk/news/breastfeeding-linked-better-childhood-behavior Thu, 23 Jun 2016 10:40:27 +0000 http://htv.com.pk/?p=20061

Children breastfed exclusively for their first six months of life have an easier

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Children breastfed exclusively for their first six months of life have an easier time behaving as primary school students, according to new research.

Carried out in South Africa, the study assessed more than 1,500 children and found a strong link between how long they were breastfed and signs of behavioral disorders between the ages of seven and 11.

Children fed only breast milk for their first six months – as recommended by the World Health Organization – were 56 percent less likely to exhibit such disorders than those breastfed for less than one month, found the study published in the PLOS medical journal.

“The duration of exclusive breastfeeding of an infant has greater importance than previously realized in several areas of development,” said Tamsen Rochat of the Human Science Research Council in Durban, a lead author of the Canadian government-financed study.

Rochat emphasized that childhood conduct disorders are associated with social problems – including violence and crime – later in life, as well as poor long-term mental health and low academic achievement.

The research also found that young children who attended daycare for at least one year were 74 percent more likely to achieve higher executive functions, enabling them to plan, concentrate and remember instructions.

The brain needs these skills to prioritize tasks, filter out distractions and achieve goals, noted study authors.

Young children who received stimulation only at home were just 36 percent more likely to achieve high executive functions.

The study also analyzed a number of environmental factors that could influence child development, and found that children were two-and-a-half times more likely to develop behavioral problems if their mothers showed signs of mental health issues or severe parenting stress.

Source: AFP

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