Aligarh : Medical and nursing students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) were apprised of the huge benefits that breastfeeding can bring to the health and welfare of babies and to the maternal health in the recently concluded workshop on the theme, ‘Step up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support’ held to observe the ‘World Breastfeeding Week’ at the Department of Community Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC), AMU.
Attending the closing ceremony as the Chief Guest, well-known pediatrician, Dr Hameeda Tariq said: “Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for babies as it protects them against short- and long-term illnesses and diseases such as asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfed babies are also less likely to have ear infections and stomach bugs”.
She pointed out that there is an increasing intimacy between mothers and their children in countries with high prevalence of breastfeeding such as Uruguay, Sweden and Oman.
Dr Hameeda urged medical and nursing students to convince mothers to breastfeed their babies.
The Guest of Honour, Prof Rakesh Bhargava (Dean, Faculty of Medicine) said: “Breastfeeding has health benefits for the mothers too as it has been observed that mothers breastfeeding their infants are at lower risks of developing some cancers, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure”.
He also suggested development of breast milk banks in medical colleges.
In the welcome address, Prof Saira Mehnaz (Organising Chairperson of the Programme and Chairperson, Department of Community Medicine) called for optimal breastfeeding to promote immunity among newborns and other additional benefits to mothers.
“Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of an infant’s life followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to 2 years and beyond, provides babies with the best health”, she said.
In a scientific session of the workshop, Dr M Salman Shah discussed the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and numerous benefits it brings to mothers and infants.
“Breast milk is like an immunization against various infections for infants and it is also the best and cheapest method available for their nutrition”, he said.
Dr Tabassum Nawab explained how successful breastfeeding depends on the positioning and attachment of babies to the breast.
“When infants are positioned and attached correctly, they will feed well and mothers will feel no pain. As the breastfeeding begins, some mothers may feel discomfort but they get used to it with time”, she added.
Dr Suboohi Afzal stressed: “There are various myths regarding breastfeeding and it is important to understand that the lactation period is critical for both newborns and mothers. In this period, mothers must be provided with support and encouragement from families and care- takers”.
Dr Ali Jafar Abedi spoke about the works of various agencies and organisations promoting breastfeeding across the Country and the world.
He recommended exclusive breastfeeding for about six months, and then continuing breastfeeding while introducing complementary foods until a child is 12 months old or older.
Prof M Athar Ansari, Prof Najam Khalique, Dr Uzma Eram, Dr Farha Aazmi (Principal, College of Nursing) and Dr Sameena Ahmad (Programmme Convenor) discussed how awareness programmes during the Breastfeeding Week observation not only make people aware of how to improve the health of babies, but they also go a long way in supporting the rights of women to breastfeed anywhere and at any time.
“A drawing competition and a quiz contest conducted by Dr Nafis Faizi were important highlights of the programme. Faculty members also delivered health talks and a rally was conducted to sensitise people on breast feeding”, informed Dr Uzma Eram.
A ‘Nukkadnatak’ (Street Play) on the importance of breast feeding and child nutrition was performed by students of Junior Primary School, Jawan.
Meanwhile, the Breastfeeding Week observations of the Department of Amraz-e-Niswan-wa-Atfal also concluded with various awareness programmes.
“Visual aids on the importance of breastfeeding, pamphlet distribution and counseling of Antenatal Care patients were the important highlights of the week-long observations,” said Prof Suboohi Mustafa (Chairperson, Department of Amraz-e-Niswan-wa-Atfal).
She informed the new mothers about how breastfeeding averts maternal deaths due to breast cancer.
Prof Syeda Aamena Naaz, Dr M Anas, Dr Diwan Israr Khan, Dr Fahmeeda Zeenat and Dr Abiha Ahmad Khan pressed for educating masses for providing support to mothers and babies in effective ways.
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