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Women Shouldn’t Require Superpowers To Juggle Breastfeeding And Work: WHO

World Breastfeeding Week 2023 is being observed with the theme of “Let’s make breastfeeding at work, work” to enable breastfeeding and make a difference for working parents

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Women Shouldn’t Require Superpowers To Juggle Breastfeeding And Work: WHO
World Breastfeeding Week 2023 is being observed with the theme of “Let’s make breastfeeding at work, work”

New Delhi: World Breastfeeding Week, commemorated annually in the first week of August (that is 1-7), aims at creating awareness about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and bolstering breastfeeding rates. This year, the week is being observed with the theme of “Let’s make breastfeeding at work, work”. To mark the beginning of the World Breastfeeding Week on August 1, the World Health Organisation (WHO) shared a graphic on social media, showing a woman at a garment factory, juggling between breastfeeding and work. While she is holding her child in two arms and breastfeeding the kid, she also has three more arms spread out, holding out thread, a pair of scissors and fabric. Take a look:

WHO captioned the image as “Women shouldn’t require superpowers to juggle breastfeeding and work” and suggested a few ways mothers can be supported. All mothers everywhere, no matter their work or contract type, should have:

  • At least 18 weeks, preferably 6 months or more, of paid maternity leave
  • Paid time off for breastfeeding or expressing milk upon returning to work
  • Flexible return-to-work options

Also Read: World Breastfeeding Week 2023: All About This Year’s Theme, History And Its Significance

Dos And Don’ts Of Breastfeeding:

Here are some recommendations of WHO and UNICEF in terms of dos and don’ts of breastfeeding for new mothers:

  • Initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of birth.
  • Children should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of their life. This means, no other foods or liquids, including water, should be given to the child.
  • Infants should be breastfed on demand – that is as often as the child wants, day and night. No bottles, teats or pacifiers should be used.
  • From the age of 6 months, initiate complementary foods while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years of age or beyond.

Role Of Breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure a child’s health and survival. The WHO suggests that breastmilk is the ideal food for infants as it is safe, clean and contains antibodies that help protect against many common childhood illnesses.

Breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life.

Explaining the health benefits of breastfeeding, WHO suggests,

Breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life. Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

Also Read: Study Reveals Link Between Human Breast Milk Micronutrient And Brain Development In Newborns

Making ‘Breastfeeding And Work’ Work:

According to WHO, at present, more than half a billion working women lack access to vital maternity provisions; many more find themselves unsupported when they go back to work. How can employers and colleagues provide support to new mothers in their company and team?

WHO’s advice for employers and managers:

  • Provide maternity leave that – at a minimum – meets national requirements
  • Provide time and space for breastfeeding or expressing and storing breastmilk
  • Provide options that reduce the separation of women from their babies after maternity leave, such as:- Flexible work schedules
    – On-site childcare
    – Teleworking
    – Part-time work
    – Letting mothers bring their babies to work

Colleagues should:

  • Be supportive of flexible work arrangements when women return to work
  • Champion women’s rights in the workplace

Also Read: Breastfeeding Children For Longer Period Leads To Better Results In Their School: Study

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toiletsare used and open defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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