Letters: Don’t forget to breast-feed
The Srikandi Awards, as reported in the Post’s article “More midwives needed ‘to achieve MDGs’” (Dec. 23, page 5) is aninnovative way to honor Indonesia’s top 10 midwives.
On behalf of Unicef Indonesia, however, I strongly appeal that any effort to support midwives should include support for their role in the promotion of breast-feeding as it is largely recognized that it can significantly reduce malnutrition and child mortality rates.
The role of midwives as front-line health workers is paramount as they help mothers during pregnancy and the two-year “golden period” of growth for infants.
The provision of clean water and more training for midwives are indeed crucial. But nowhere in the article is breast-feeding mentioned. We believe it is an incredible missed opportunity if we do not fully support exclusive breast-feeding.
All infants should be fed exclusively with breast milk for the first six months of their life. No other liquid or food, not even water, is needed during this period. Thereafter, infants should receive adequate and safe complementary foods while continuing to breast-feed up to at least the age of 2 years.
Global health authorities agree that breast milk is unquestionably the best for infant feeding. Only breast milk contains the perfect combination of proteins, carbohydrates and fats to enhance infant growth and brain development. Only breast milk contains antibodies to protect infants against infection.
Exclusive breast-feeding in the first six months can save more than an estimated 30,000 Indonesian children, and 10 million children worldwide, from dying each year.
Representative, Unicef Indonesia