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Breastfeeding: A key to sustainable development
Every year, the first week of August is observed as World Breastfeeding Week, in over 120 countries, and the campaign focuses on providing encouragement and assistance to nursing mothers.
At Hind Institute of Medical Sciences, Department of Paediatrics organised a CME to mark the beginning of the World Breastfeeding Week 2016 based on the theme - "Breastfeeding: A key to Sustainable Development."

The aim was to create awareness and to emphasise on the significance of breastfeeding. It was a power packed session with some of the most renowned physicians like Dr VN Tripathi - DGME also the chief guest, Dr Piyali Bhattacharya from SGPGIMS and also the president of Lucknow Academy of Paediatrics, Dr Sitanshu Shrivastava - Prof and Head of Paediatrics at Era's Lucknow Medical College & Hospital.

The session was opened by Prof. R. Ahuja, Prof and Head of Paediatrics, HIMS who welcomed the guests and emphasized that this simple thing that a mother can do for her child is much more crucial for the baby's health than big modern hospitals and high-tech gadgets.

He compared mother's milk with mother earth nourishing the roots of a plant to ensure the health of the tender leaves. And to strongly put this point and with the aim of green earth, the dignitaries were welcomed with plant saplings.

Dr VN Tripathi - Director General Medical Education & Training, emphasized how the lactating mother is in need of the support of the extended family and the community. With many illnesses linked to the early childhood years, breast milk which is nutritious, contains essential amino acids for brain development and growth, provides immunity and has a host of benefits must be actively promoted among mothers and their families.

He pointed out the four hazards which mothers face: ignorance, lack of support, lack of awareness and poor self confidence. This is the duty of the doctor, nurse, social worker or ASHA who ever meets her to get rid of all these hazards and help her in breastfeeding her baby.

Dr Shitanshu talked about relactation, which is a relatively alien aspect of breastfeeding. It is a process by which a woman can resume breastfeeding after a gap of days, weeks, months or years or even in cases of adopted child. She also talked about expression of breast milk. If a mother is not in a position to feed her baby because she is working or has to go somewhere, she can use expressed breast milk which can be stored at the room temperature for 6-8 hours, in refrigerator for 24 hours and in freezer at -20 degrees Celsius for 3 months, but it doesn't negate the significance of exclusive breast feeding and reserved for mothers with genuine reasons. With human milk banking in the horizon this concept is important.

Dr Piyush Upadhyay spoke on Sustainable developmental goals and how breastfeeding is a key element in achieving it. The objective was to inform people about SDG and how they relate to breast feeding, to firmly anchor breastfeed as a key component, to galvanise a variety of actions at all levels on breastfeeding and to engage and collaborate with a wider range of actors to approach, protect and support breastfeeding.

Breast milk is ideal for a neonate and the best gift a mother can give to her baby. Breast milk contains all the nutrients required for the adequate growth and development from birth to the first 6 months of life and hence exclusive breastfeeding for first 6 months is imperative to accrue for maximum benefits.

A skit on the local beliefs and queries about breastfeeding was also held. It was performed beautifully by nursing students who gave the message that breastfeeding is best feeding.

Dr. Utkarsh Bansal, organising secretary of the CME said that breastfeeding was the gift of mother to herself, her baby and the Earth. He thanked all for the support and made all pledge to promote and spread awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding.

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