Mother’s milk is a must for infant up to two years of age

Young mothers were educated on the different aspects of breastfeeding and immunisation during the healthy baby competition organised by the Southern Railway Medical Department to observe World Breastfeeding Week in the city. Both railway employees and general public participated with gusto as they brought along their young children to the Railway Hospital at Goldenrock, where the event was held. Babies and young children below the age of three years were screened by doctors on various parameters such as feeding habits, immunisation, weight, spacing of children, and milestones among others.

Following the screening, Dr. P. Mallika, ACMS, Railway Hospital, Goldenrock, spoke about the various aspects of breastfeeding, including the ideal time and method to breastfeed, how many times in a day to breastfeed, the number of years for which mother’s milk should be given to the infant and the benefits of breastfeeding for the mother and the child. “Mother’s milk is a must for a new born baby immediately after childbirth and should ideally be given till the baby reaches two years of age. It must be given within the first half an hour after the birth as the milk possesses critical nutrients in ideal quantity required by the new born,” she said, while adding that it also aids in protecting from deadly diseases.

Dr. P. Venkatraman, ACMS, Railway Hospital, Goldenrock, enlightened parents on the importance of immunisation and spoke about the different vaccines that should be administered during different periods of pregnancy and also after childbirth for both the mother and the child.

The top three healthy babies were awarded prizes in two categories; 0-1 years and 1-3 years. R.Bhargav, S. Sanjai Harsha and Mandala Sanvi were adjudged the healthiest babies in the first category, while Avanindra Singh, A. Kathrina and Niven Jose were declared the healthiest babies in the second category.

The chief guest for the event, S.G. Madwesh, CMS (Chief Medical Superintendent), Railway Hospital, Goldenrock, and his wife gave away the prizes to the winners. R. Soundararajan, ACMS (Assistant Chief Medical Superintendent), M. Ulaganathan, DMO (Divisional Medical Officer), and railway PRO M. K. Gopinath were present.

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is observed every year from August 1 to 7 in over 120 countries. It is organised by WABA (World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action), WHO, and UNICEF with the goal to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months in the life of an infant.

WHO and American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) emphasise the value of breastfeeding for mothers as well as children. Both recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and then supplemented breastfeeding for at least one year and up to two years or more.