A conference titled A Dialogue on Breastfeeding: Promotion and Challenges was organised by the EVERYONE Campaign and Save the Children on Thursday.
EVERYONE campaign manager Muhammad Naveed shared statistics on breastfeeding practices in the province.
He said the status of breast feeding practices in the province was very discouraging.
“According to a 2011 multiple-indicator cluster survey 22 per cent mothers had breast-fed their children up to six months,” he said.
He said bottle feeding had increased to 54 per cent.
Naveed said a newborn should be breastfed immediately after the delivery.
He said complementary breastfeeding should be continued with weaning till the baby was 24 months old.
“A multi-sectoral approach should be adopted for promotion of breastfeeding,” he said. “Stakeholders like the government, its development partners, the civil society and the media should create awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding.”
Naveed emphasised the role of civil society organisations in providing spaces for working women to breastfeed their child without hampering their work commitments.
Paediatrician Naeem Zafar said there was need for revival of a baby-friendly hospitals initiative.
He said studies showed that breastfed children had higher IQ than bottle-fed children.
He said there was no law on checking formula milk for quality.
Zafar said formula milk manufacturing companies were not allowed to sell or advertise it in hospitals.
He said free sampling and complimentary gifts to mothers at hospitals should be discouraged.
Ammara Farooq, a child right’s activist, discussed the Punjab Protection of Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition (Amendment) Act 2012.
She said an Infant Feeding Board was to have been constituted after the amendment. She said the board was to consist of a chairperson, a secretary and two members of the provincial assembly.
The Childs Rights Movement representative Nazeer Ghazi appreciated the organisers’ efforts for raising awareness about the issue.
He said the CRM would take promotion of breastfeeding on its agenda for future campaigning.
MPA Hina Pervaiz Butt praised the EVERYONE Campaign for organising a dialogue.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2013.