HealthPhone™: Initiation of Breastfeeding by Breast Crawl
UNICEF, WHO and WABA along with the scientific community strongly recommend initiating breastfeeding within one hour of birth. Evidence shows that early initiation can prevent 22% of all deaths among babies below one month, in developing countries. Yet, no specific method of initiation of breastfeeding has been widely recommended by the scientific community. In the current scenario, the high rate of under-nutrition in young children is prevalent which is a high 46%, in India, according to NFHS III, 3rd National Family Health Survey, coupled with high morbidity and mortality. We, in Maharashtra, felt a dying need to identify evidence–based workable method which is easy, replicable and cost effective.
It is also known, that like the young ones of animals, even human babies can initiate breastfeeding on their own, provided they are kept between mother’s breasts. This is known as Breast Crawl. The Government of Maharashtra, Nutrition Mission, ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services), and BPNI (Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India) Maharashtra, jointly with UNICEF have initiated an ambitious programme to train government / NGO functionaries in the basics Infant and Young Child Feeding. The miracle has moved one and all. From the grass-root health workers to the highest bureaucrats, and they have accepted it as the answer for early initiation.
Soon after delivery and after the baby has cried and started breathing well:
(Doctor: See how beautiful your child is.)
The baby is shown to the mother and kept close to her for the cheek to cheek contact. This helps the mother to kiss the baby and also facilitates the local custom of saying a holy message in the baby’s ear.
Subsequently, the baby is kept prone in the breasts. All care should be taken to prevent the baby from falling.
If the weather is cold, then baby should be covered with a warm cloth.
The baby is very alert soon after delivery and hence is at its instinctive best.
The baby is also kept warm being in close contact with the mother.
The baby is also protected from future infection because she starts acquiring healthy germs which will colonise her skin and intestines.
Thus, this position ensures early instinctive stimulation and gives warmth, love, security and also food. It also initiates the bonding process between the baby and the mother.
Kicks will give tender firm jerks to the womb stimulating it to contract. This will help to expel the placenta and reduce bleeding.
Once the baby realizes that food is in close proximity, it starts salivating.
Smell is a strong stimulus which drives the baby towards the nipple. The baby’s smell sensation is well developed. The smell of the chemical on the nipples is similar to the chemicals in amniotic fluid which surrounds the baby in the womb.
Mouthing movements start. Her shoulder, hip and neck muscles are sufficiently developed to help her move. Baby with her limited vision can see the areola. If the baby raises her head, she can also see her mother’s face.
The baby has reached the nipple. Has raised her head .... and has nicely latched it with wide open mouth and mouth full of breast.
What a beautiful moment of joy, for the mother and the child.
This baby has reached the destination in just over 10 minutes. The majority of babies will successfully complete the Breast Crawl in about 30-60 minutes.
Like all other gifts of nature this comes free of cost. However, the health and nutrition benefits offered will save millions of lives and will save billions in terms of health cost. It will create a generation which will reach the highest human potential of growth and development.
We request you to carry this message to all future mothers and their families to prepare them to experience this miracle. Train every health worker in the maternity service to help every baby and mother to initiate breastfeeding, by nature’s way.
We thank the baby and the mother who allowed us to document this beautiful method of ‘Breast Crawl’ at Nandurbar.
UNICEF, WHO and WABA along with the scientific community strongly recommend initiating breastfeeding within an hour of birth. Evidence shows that early initiation can prevent 22% of all deaths among babies below one month in developing countries. Every newborn, when placed on the mother's abdomen, soon after birth, has the ability to find its mother's breast all on its own and to decide when to take the first breastfeed. This is called the 'Breast Crawl'. This superb video will help initiate this process right from the time the baby is born. The video is such a joy to watch! It shows the power of nature fostering breastfeeding and adding to the medicinal, nutritional and bonding between mother and child in what can only be described as magical! visit us at http://healthphone.org .
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