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Breastfeeding can be a tremendously rewarding experience for both mother and child, but it is not always simple. It is a natural and essential practice for new-borns, providing numerous health benefits for both mother and child. Many new mothers face difficulties breastfeeding, particularly in India, where cultural and societal pressures can exacerbate the stress of a new mother's journey.
According to the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5), the breastfeeding initiation rate in India is 79.7 per cent. The exclusive breastfeeding rate in India is 55.1 per cent.
"Despite the high rates of breastfeeding initiation in India, there are still several challenges that mothers face, which results in a large number of babies not getting exclusive breastmilk for the first six months of life," says Dr Shruti Jain (PT), Certified Lactation consultant, Childbirth Educator, Program Manager - Save Babies, NeoLacta Lifesciences.
She expounds, "Breastfeeding challenges refer to difficulties faced by new mothers in initiating, maintaining, and continuing breastfeeding. These could include difficulty latching, low milk supply, sore nipples, and breast engorgement, among others. These challenges can be caused by various factors such as health conditions, lifestyle choices, and lack of knowledge and support."
Breastfeeding can be challenging, but with the right support and information, new moms in India can overcome these challenges and have a positive breastfeeding experience, asserts Dr Shruti.
She also shares some tips for new moms to overcome these breastfeeding challenges.
Seeking Medical Advice: A lactation consultant can be incredibly helpful in guiding new mothers through the process of breastfeeding. They can offer advice on proper latch techniques, positions, and common issues like sore nipples and low milk supply.
Building a Support System: Having a support system in place, such as a partner, family member, or friend who can offer encouragement and assistance, can be crucial for establishing a successful breastfeeding routine.
Joining Breastfeeding Support Groups: Joining breastfeeding support groups can provide new moms with a community of peers who have faced similar challenges.
Seeking Advice from Experienced Moms: Talking to experienced moms who have faced similar breastfeeding challenges can provide new moms with useful tips and advice.
Finding Ways to Reduce Stress: Engaging in stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help new moms cope with the stress of breastfeeding challenges.
Breastfeeding is a learning process for both the mother and baby
The Indian government also, has implemented several programs to promote breastfeeding, such as the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) program, which provides counselling and support for breastfeeding mothers.
"It is important for new moms to remember that breastfeeding is a learning process for both the mother and baby, and it may take time to establish a successful breastfeeding routine. With patience, perseverance, and support, many new moms are able to overcome any challenges they may face," Dr Shruti adds.
To support Indian mothers in their breastfeeding journey by acknowledging the difficulties they may encounter NeoLacta Lifesciences has introduced a new initiative. The company has established a breastfeeding helpline manned by certified lactation consultants, which can be reached through a toll-free number 1800-419-2199.
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