Lack of knowledge persists about breastfeeding in UAE: lactation consultants

Some new mothers have little or no information about breastfeeding and its benefits, said local lactation consultants during the World Breastfeeding Week.

“Lack of knowledge is a major concern. Most of the new mothers have no idea about breastfeeding,” opined Karine Poghosyan, International Board-certified lactation consultant at Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi. Lactation consultants are certified healthcare professionals who help a new mother in breastfeeding. Poghosyan pointed out that lack of family support is another issue in some cases, especially interfering grandparents.

“For the grandmothers, their grandchild is the most precious gift in this world and someone who needs to be constantly fed. So, some of them keep pushing for artificial milk.”

According to UNICEF and WHO, globally fewer than half of all newborn babies are breastfed in the first hour of life, leaving them more vulnerable to disease and death. Breastfeeding acts as a baby’s first vaccine, providing critical protection from diseases and death.

“We find that mothers and fathers lack any awareness on the importance of feeding breastmilk to a newborn. We have been helping them. Most of my patients would otherwise miss giving breast milk on the first day, especially the first hour after birth of their babies, which is the most important. Breastfeeding is the first vaccine from God to the baby,” Poghosyan underlined. According to UNICEF and WHO, only 44 per cent of infants are exclusively breastfed in the first six months of life, short of the World Health Assembly target of 50 per cent by 2025.

“Apart from neonatologists, the support and awareness from the healthcare providers are also crucial. So, especially throughout this week, we have initiated different activities and campaigns,” Poghosyan noted.

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