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Sunday, 1 August 2010

BREASTFEEDING - Just 10 Steps! The Baby-Friendly Way

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is celebrated from 1st - 7th August in more than 120 countries each year. Over the years, the initiatives of WBW have strived to improve the rate of breastfeeding by stepping up awareness about the importance of breast milk for the overall well-being of the child and the mother. More importantly, this is an opportune time every year to dispel overriding myths which are a deterrent to breastfeeding.

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the ‘Innocenti Declaration’ in 1990 which sought to improve the rates of breastfeeding by establishing the Ten Steps in all maternity facilities. In remembrance of this initiative two decades ago, and as a follow-up of its progress, the theme for World Breastfeeding Week 2010, is aptly – “Breastfeeding in Just 10 Simple Steps”.
The Innocenti Declaration endeavored to implement the “Ten Steps to Breastfeeding” in all maternities by 1995. Now, after twenty years have passed, more than 152 countries have baby-friendly hospitals which have contributed their mite to promote exclusive breastfeeding, as well as impede the promotion of commercial infant formula to the public. Further, the ten steps to breastfeeding have been fully implemented in 28% of all maternities in the world, which has the stamp of approval from the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI).
Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
Undoubtedly, health care facilities play a crucial part in promoting breastfeeding and it is here that the Ten Steps come in handy to train healthcare workers adequately in this area so that they are equipped to offer assistance and support to breastfeeding mothers.
It is imperative for every facility with maternity services and care for newborn infants to follow these steps:
1. It is a must to have a clearly worded breastfeeding policy which is regularly communicated to all the healthcare staff.
2. All healthcare staff must be trained in the skills required to execute the policy.
3. All pregnant women need to be informed about the importance of breastfeeding, its benefits and management.
4. Mothers should be provided adequate assistance to initiate breastfeeding within half-hour of birth.
5. Mothers should be taught how to breastfeed and maintain lactation should they have to stay away from their infants.
6. Underline the importance of giving newborns only breast milk and no other food or drink.
7. Inculcate rooming in – which is ensuring mothers and infants are always together throughout (24 hrs).
8. Educate mothers to breastfeed on demand.
9. Ensure artificial teats or pacifiers are not given to breastfeeding infants.
10. Encourage the establishment of breastfeeding support groups so that mothers can seek their guidance after discharge from the hospital.
Know Why Breast Milk is the Best
• Breast-feeding is wholesome and absolute nourishment for the baby during the initial 6 months. It is important to exclusively breast feed the child during the first six months without the requirement of other milk, food or water.
• Colostrum, the pale yellow first milk present in the initial 2-3 days following birth provides resistance against infections and diseases.
• Adequate calories are contained in breast milk with the right amount of fat, lactose, vitamins, minerals, water and enzymes, just right for baby’s needs.
• It is completely free of germs and bacteria and can guard the baby from any infection. Further, it has protective ingredients which inhibit the growth of bacteria in the intestine, the leading cause of diarrhea in infants.
• Breast milk is economical and free from contamination. No preparation time is required as it is always ready when the baby needs.
• Breast milk goes beyond being just ‘food’ for the baby. It enhances bonding between the mother and child, providing security, warmth and comfort to the infant.
Nature’s Recipe for Life Long Health – Breast Milk
There are innumerable life-long benefits of breast milk and some are listed below:
• Breast feeding offers protection against respiratory illnesses.
• Incidences of heart disease, diabetes, and allergic conditions are less in breastfed babies.
• Breastfeeding gives an impetus to the development of the brain. Babies fed on breast milk portray higher intelligence quotient than infants on other baby food.
• Breast feeding mothers regain their pre-pregnancy weight much faster than mothers who do not breast feed.
• Risk of breast and ovarian cancers is much less in women who have breast fed.

A mother’s role in the development of her child is immense, much more than words can describe. Perhaps the first and most significant step in this direction is Breast feeding, a guarantee for life-long health.


Condoms And Contraception

1. Proper and consistent use of condoms prevents transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (AIDS/HIV, Syphilis). 2. Reliability is high if used appropriately. 3. Availability of different shapes, sizes and types of condoms.

There is one for everybody. 4. Ease of purchase of a condom from pharmacy, supermarket, departmental stores. There is no need for a prescription and is even provided free of cost in health centres and family planning clinics. 5. Condoms are easy to use, and very little practice is needed. 6. It can be used during each act of intercourse whereas birth control pills have to be taken for a prolonged period. 7. Enhances responsibility and mutual understanding between the partners. 8. Use of condoms is devoid of any side effects and is much cheaper when compared to other forms of birth control.

Breast Cancer Severity Could be Predicted by Genetic Changes Linked to Diet

Researchers from Brown University and the University of California San Francisco have said that epigenetic changes to DNA in breast cancers are directly linked with diet, alcohol, and tumour size, and could hence give a glimpse of the severity of the disease.

The findings point to the emergence of new biomarkers that researchers hope will give a more detailed view of the environmental factors that contribute to tumour development and could, in the future, provide improvements in diagnostics and treatment decisions, as well as potentially more personalized recommendations to help prevent recurrence.
The use of epigenetic profiles as biomarkers of disease subtype and severity is a rapidly emerging field with other notable contributions from this group- a field that is being advanced with the support of the NIH, and shows promise for developing novel clinical tools.
"We undertook this study to help illuminate how diet and environmental factors might contribute to differences observed among breast cancers," said Brock Christensen of the Center for Environmental Health and Technology (CEHT) at Brown University and lead author of the report.

The study measured epigenetic profiles in stage I to IV breast tumors from 162 women enrolled in the Pathways Study, a study of breast cancer survivorship based at Kaiser Permanente of Northern California.
The researchers took a detailed assessment of an individual's demographic and dietary information, as well as breast cancer tumour characteristics.

Experts Say Calling Obese People 'Fat' Won't Help Them

Experts say that doctors telling obese people they're 'fat' will only put them off from seeking help.

According to the Herald Sun, Harry Hemley, Victorian president of the Australian Medical Association was the lone voice in the debate, saying that calling some overweight and obese people fat could be the nudge they needed to start losing weight.
He was speaking after UK Health Minister Anne Milton called on the National Health Service to ban terms such as "obese" because they lack emotional impact.
Milton, who stressed she was speaking in a personal capacity, said: "If I look in the mirror and think I am obese I think I am less worried (than) if I think I am fat."
She said too many staff working in the NHS were worried about using the term, but suggested it could help encourage "personal responsibility", according to the BBC.
However, Hemley said it wouldn't work with everybody with the risk of some patients feeling offended which could affect the doctor-patient relationship
"We want to encourage people to seek help from their GP and other health professionals to lose weight, not stay away because they're scared of being offended," quoted Hemley as saying.
Ronald McCoy, spokesman GPs of Royal Australian College said the word fat was rude and insulting, and patients should always be treated with respect.
"Doctors should always bring up the topic of being overweight because it is a major health problem, there's no denying that. But it's no excuse for bad manners," McCoy said.
"If I was rude to patients they would never come back and I'd have no hope of dealing with the problem at all," he added.

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