Madhya Pradesh is lagging in breastfeeding practices despite having high institutional delivery rate, a recently released Rapid Survey on Children (RSoC), 2013-14, shows.
The report, released by the ministry of women and child development on Wednesday, reveals only 43.1% children in the state get mother’s milk within an hour of birth, when 78.1% childbirth is institutional — in hospitals or health centres.
The survey reveals that the national scenario on the good breastfeeding practices is also bleak. The all India average of initiation of breastfeeding within an hour of birth is just 44.6%. It puts the nation’s average of complimentary food practice for children in age group 6-8 months at 50.5% and the state’s average at 46.3%.
Early initiation (breastfeeding within an hour of birth) is one of the three best breastfeeding practices, doctors say. The two others being exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continuation of breastfeeding along with complimentary food till the child is two years old.
According to UNICEF, early and exclusive breastfeeding not only helps children survive, but also supports healthy brain development, improves cognitive performance and is associated with better educational achievement at age five. Breastfeeding also protects infants against diseases too.
Senior paediatrician Dr Sheela Bhambal, who is also ex-president of Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India, said such poor statistics underlines the need of increased community participation for adoption of good breastfeeding practices.
“A mother is influenced by family and community and thus their role becomes important. Unless there is large-scale awareness and behavioural change in society, results would not be achieved,” she said.
Dr Bhambal added that convergence in work of field level health and women and child development workers was important.
The principal secretary of health department said trained breastfeeding counsellors have been made available in all district hospital to help the mothers adopt the breastfeeding practices, especially early initiation. “But if the situation is still so bad, we need to see where we are going wrong,” she told HT.