Bhubaneswar: World Breastfeeding Week is being observed across Odisha from 1st to 7th August. 2020. The theme for 2020 is, “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet”.
It is well known that mother’s milk is the best immunity for a child and is the surest safeguard against infection. It is a rich source of minerals and vitamins, which includes water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, Vitamins A&C, iron, calcium, and other trace elements all of which are important for the growth & development of the child.
Reinforcing the significance of breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic to improve immunity in children is the best way forward for a healthier planet.
Infant Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices include, early initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of the child’s birth: exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and complementary feeding & continued breastfeeding upto two years. This must be continued unhindered also by nursing women infected with COVID-19 following adequate precautions. Those showing signs of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness(SARI) must also continue to breastfeed by taking all precautions such as wearing masks while feeding the baby, washing hands during handling the baby and wiping’ cleaning & disinfecting the surfaces regularly.
Breast Feeding Week 2020 is being observed at the district and project levels in convergence with the stakeholders. primarily in virtual mode ensuring all safety & precautionary measures. Early initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of the child’s birth, is also getting ensured in all cases of institutional deliveries. Platforms like VHSNDs/UHSNDs, Fixed Immunisation Day(FID), THR distribution day etc are optimally being used for counselling of pregnant & nursing women on IYCF practices.
Intake of adequate nutrition by the mother and consumption of Take Home Ration(THR), chikkis/ladoos & eggs provided under Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) is essential in ensuring quality & adequacy of milk. Fathers and other family members have an immense role in supporting the mother for ensuring optimal breastfeeding to the child. Hence, AWWs are being oriented for telecounselling and sharing of WhatsApp messages/videos to the nursing mothers and their husbands(# Menstreaming). Mothers-in-law also play a key role in this effort. Right messaging through Tiki Mausi, the mascot of the Department, is also getting ensured.
Guidelines for observation of the week, Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) on breastfeeding during COVID-19 andv ideos/messages on TYCF have been shared with the districts for implementation and use during the Week.