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'Mothers milk fed in the first hour of birth acts as a vaccination for the newborn babies'

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Senior Correspondent

BHOPAL: The importance of mother’s milk, fed at the earliest after birth, for the health of newborn babies was underlined at a social media influencers’ meet organised jointly by the Impact for Nutrition group (I4N), UNICEF Madhya Pradesh and Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal.

The event was organised on Wednesday as part of World Breastfeeding Week, which commenced on August 1. 

At the beginning of the program, a video series named ‘Poshan Talk’s was shown to participants.

State Lead for I4N, Diwakar Shukla welcomed everyone and explained in detail about Impact for Nutrition programme and its objective. He said that the government is making every effort to create awareness about nutrition. If the private sector also this nutrition campaign of the government, then the change for the better will be visible very soon.

UNICEF Madhya Pradesh Chief, Margaret Gwada spoke about her personal experience and said, "Every woman finds the first day of breastfeeding challenging. My husband gave a lot of support and information that helped me through the initial weeks. Similar to this, every husband should support his wife during this crucial nursing period.” She concluded by stating that mother's milk is the purest and best for the infant.

Suresh Tomar, joint director of women and child development department, said that although it is recommended that breastfeeding begin within an hour of birth, only 41% of babies are breastfed even now. The reason for this is that we only concentrate on one strata of society, but hospitals too need to be made aware of the issue.

He further said that it must be realized that a mother who breastfeeds her infant not only nourishes it but also maintains the stability of her family's finances.

Talking about the nuances of breastfeeding, Dr Pushpa Awasthi, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF said, “45% of children under the age of five die due to nutritional deficiency.” Breastfeeding has the potential to save 10 out of 100 babies. About 22 percent of neonates (newborn) can be saved, if they are nursed within the first hour of birth. 

She also mentioned that breast milk serves as a child's first immunization. The milk guards against things like colds, diarrhea, asthma, and jaundice.

About 25 social media influencers attended the meet.