Breast-Feeding Counselling and Its Effect on the Prevalence of Exclusive Breast-Feeding (Clinical Report)
INTRODUCTION Breast-feeding is the fundamental component of the child-survival strategy. It has been estimated that 1.3 million deaths could be prevented each year if babies were exclusively breastfed for the first months followed by appropriate complementary feeding at least in the first year of life (1). Exclusive breast-feeding for five months with colostrums being fed [which is termed as the first immunization] (2) and continuing breast-feeding for at least two years are crucial for survival, growth, and development of children (3). The beneficiaries of breast-feeding are not only the child, but also the mother, the family, and the society as a whole. Exclusive breastfeeding reduced mortality due to diarrhoea 11-fold in infants of poor mothers in urban Dhaka, Bangladesh (2) and urban slums in Lima, Peru (4). Risk of mortality from diarrhoea is 25 times higher in infants aged 0-2 month(s), who are not breastfed, compared to infants who are exclusively breastfed (5). In Bangladesh, studies have focused on protective effect of breast-feeding against most causal agents of diarrhoea. The most convincing effect of breast-feeding has been found in the case of cholera and shigellosis (6). Breast-feeding also reduces fertility. Exclusively breast-feeding women with lactational amenorrhoea are 98% protected from pregnancy for six months after delivery (7).