CyberDodo and mother’s milk (2-7)

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Articles 6 and 24 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child deal with the Right to Life and the Right to Health.

Article 6 – The obligation of the state to recognise the inherent right to life of the child and to guarantee his survival and development.

Article 24 – Children have the right to the best state of health possible. They benefit from medical and rehabilitation services. The state focuses on the prevention and reduction of infant mortality; it fights against traditional practices that endanger the health of children. This is done through international cooperation.

In this context, a better knowledge of the advantages of maternal milk and extended practice of breastfeeding can concretely contribute not only towards guaranteeing better health for children, but also particularly towards saving millions of lives..

 There is nothing better for babies than their mothers’ milk.

What is maternal breastfeeding?

This is the extraordinary ability Nature has given Mothers to produce the best food possible for their babies. Human milk is rich in thousands of components which together guarantee that the child being fed does not suffer from any need, so long as his mother’s health has not deteriorated too much.

Furthermore, the composition of the milk changes with time; it adapts itself to the needs of the child.

What does maternal milk consist of?

The answer to this question could take up many pages, because this food is complex and complete, in short, you can refer to a case file on nutrition that we invite you to check and fill out your information, where you can find out about the proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, minerals, trace elements as well as a whole lot of substances with unique properties for the harmonious survival and development of the child.

For example, maternal milk provides protection against microbes for a baby; it contributes towards his growth, helps his digestive system to develop and particularly boosts his immunity system which at birth is only starting to emerge, etc.

Breastfeeding also has advantages for mothers because it is in fact proven that it reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, helps her to recover her figure quicker and delays the return of fertility.

Can all Mothers breastfeed?

Unfortunately not; there are several reasons why women stop breastfeeding their children, from which it is possible to distinguish physiological, psychological and societal causes.

First of all, a woman who cannot breastfeed her child should not be blamed for any wrongdoing, whatever the reasons may be. However, these include physical impediments, psychological hang-ups and Marketing pressures.

Let us see what they are, firstly by looking at physical impediments. These can be linked to serious illnesses that a Mother suffers from, a resulting weakness that stops her from breastfeeding. Medication associated with these problems can also cause problems because they could be found in the mother’s milk and then be absorbed by the child. The addictions that certain mothers may therefore suffer from (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, etc.) also represent a contra- indication. Sometimes a child simply cannot tolerate milk for several congenital reasons.

But certain impediments can only be temporary, as in the case of infections. Finally, benign ailments, such as colds or angina, even classical flu, may put a stop to breastfeeding.

The list of psychological hang-ups comprises a number of myths, such as: small breasts cannot produce enough milk to properly nourish a child, or breastfeeding will ruin breasts, the fear that certain women have of being ‘prisoners’ of their children and not being able to share the task of feeding with other people. Finally, certain psychological hang-ups occur due to more intimate reasons; we will not detail them here.

WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months


Enormous ‘Marketing’ pressures on mothers are simple to understand: mother’s milk is free, healthy, always ready and perfectly adapted to the needs of the child, whereas salesmen want to make money by selling artificial milk which has several drawbacks.

However, through advertising campaigns, they have started imposing their industrial products, including countries where hygiene conditions do not enable the confident use of teats.

According to WHO (World Health Organisation), the lack of immediate, exclusive maternal breastfeeding in developing countries causes the death of 1,5 million children every year!

What do the specialists say?

WHO recommends ‘exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding association and the introduction of other foods within the scope of adapted, appropriate and quality feeding’.

‘Exclusive maternal breastfeeding for the six months following birth is currently considered to be a world public health objective linked to the reduction of infant morbidity and mortality...’ 

This is the same for poor as well as rich countries...

Is the information for future mothers sufficient?

This is surely one of the most important points, it is indispensable to properly inform the future Mother of the undeniable advantages of breastfeeding her child and herself, as well as help to put it into practice.

In order to do this, WHO and UNICEF have taken an initiative called ‘Baby-Friendly Hospitals’, which defines 10 conditions for the success of maternal breastfeeding, here they are:

All establishments that provide maternity services and care to newborns should:

1.Adopt a written maternal breastfeeding policy and systematically inform care giving staff about them
2.Give all care giving staff the necessary techniques to put this policy into practice
3.Inform all pregnant women of the advantages of breastfeeding and its practice
4.Help mothers to start to breastfeed their children in the half hour following birth
5.Teach mothers how to breastfeed, and even how to give them breast milk if they are separated from their child
6.Not give newborns any food or drink other than maternal milk, unless medically indicated
7.Leave the child with his mother 24 hours a day
8.Encourage breastfeeding as the child needs it
9.Not give breastfed children any artificial teats or suckers
10.Encourage the establishment of associations that support maternal breastfeeding and help mothers as they are discharged from the hospital or clinic.

For more information on the WHO site

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