* Breastfeeding rates in Karnataka for children under the age of 6 months have shown a fall of 4% in the last decade; 46% of children are not being breastfed exclusively
* It has become essential to focus on promoting breastfeeding practices and spreading awareness around the subject in families and in public.
* Providing alternate options through milk banks such as Amaara can be beneficial for those children whose mothers cannot breastfeed them due to various reasons.
Bangalore, 1ST August 2019: Fortis La Femme Hospital, Richmond road today along with Breast Milk Foundation supports World Breastfeeding Week through its pioneering initiative, ‘Amaara’ the first Pasteurized Human Milk Bank in Bengaluru,Karnataka launched 23 months ago in collaboration with the Breast Milk Foundation. The objective of Amaara is to provide all premature and critically-ill babies with human breast milk. Through this initiative, an opportunity is provided to all qualified donors across Karnataka to donate their milk.
In the past decade, Karnataka has witnessed a 4% fall in children under the age of 6 months who are exclusively breastfed. As per the data available, National Family Health Survey reports that 54.2% children younger than 6 months are breastfed exclusively, which was 58.6% in 2005-06. The overall record in India is 55% on the same parameters, with a large ground left to cover in the direction. Promoting healthy breastfeeding practices comes across as of paramount importance to encourage family member and mothers to support breastfeeding in families.
Dr Ankit Srivastava, Founder- Breast Milk Foundation, said “On the occasion of Breast Feeding Week, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Donor Mothers who have extended their love by donating breast milk to our bank and we are delighted to see Amaara prosper and do a commendable service in helping families in need. The milk bank is definitely making a progress, and we are trying to raise more awareness on importance of mother’s milk during the early age and promoting breastfeeding through various channels.”
Early initiation of breastfeeding can prevent deaths caused due to diarrhea and pneumonia. India is one of the top countries which account for child deaths every year because of inadequate breastfeeding and milk banks can help bridge the gap. Mother’s milk can be stored in the freezer for six months at -20 degree Celsius, and at room temperature, it can be used for 3-4 hours.
“As a healthcare company based on women’s health, much of our effort is to promote breastfeeding. While in India the breastfeeding initiation rate is 41.5%, according to UNICEF; at Fortis La Femme the average rate for the last quarter is around 80% for all our 4 units. In fact, at Bangalore unit we have the breastfeeding rate past 89%. While the government is progressing towards designing policies and making efforts to facilitate breast feeding, we as an organization also leave no stone unturned to ensure this healthy practice for all our patients with trained and certified Lactation counsellors available to provide guidance and support. For our external patients, we have information sharing groups, a Breast feeding support line and appointments available with our experts through the journey. Breastfeeding is the first benchmark of motherhood and we believe in educating and supporting women on it from all possible directions. We have even got a Breast Milk Bank at two of our hospitals to stretch our support to premature infants who need the nourishment of Breast milk but May have to rely on donor milk for the initial period. All babies have a right to Mother’s milk and we at La Femme ensure to make it happen!” says Mr Srikant Subudhi, Facility Director, Fortis La Femme.
Breast feeding is a convenient method of feeding the child with many added advantages. Apart from containing all the nutrients that a baby needs, it is easily digestible and is assimilated by the body, protects baby from infection as antibodies from the mother protects the child who is breastfed, is an economical and a natural way to promote mother baby bonding, prevents allergic reaction and subsequent development of coronary heart disease, it helps the baby’s physical and intellectual development, protects mother’s health by helping early involution of the uterus, reduces post partum bleeding, so prevents anemia, reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and helps delay the birth of the second child, says Dr Sreenath Manikanti, Head Neonatology, Fortis La Femme, Bangalore.
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