REGIONAL CONFERENCE ENCOURAGES BREASTFEEDING HABITS BEYOND 6-MONTHS MARK
AUG 28, 2019 @10.22PM
The Malaysian Breastfeeding Association, a non-profit organisation created to endorse, promote and support healthy breastfeeding practise, today officially launched the 2nd Regional Breastfeeding Conference at Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences (CUCSM).
Anchored on the theme ‘Optimising Nutrition and Well-being of Mother and Young Child’, the focus centred on the importance of family-friendly policies to enable breastfeeding as well as to support parents to nurture and bond with their children.
Professor Dr Adlina Suleiman, vice-president of the Malaysian Breastfeeding Association emphasised the need to educate and empower the community that could help mothers find the right information, support and confidence to practise exclusive breastfeeding beyond the 6-month mark.
Continuance of breastfeeding untll one year of age
The current National Breastfeeding Policy advice mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding – with only breastmilk - from birth to six months, per the recommendation from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Complimentary food can be introduced in their diet when the baby completes six months of age. In addition, the Malaysian Breastfeeding Association advocates for the continuance of breastfeeding until one year of age and if needed to supplement with fresh cow’s milk instead of formula milk.
Applauding the efforts, Dato’ Junaidah Kamarruddin, Secretary-General at the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (MWFCD) said data from the ministry showed that around 95% of mothers breastfeed during the first few months of birth with 60% completing the 6-month mark, compared to a decade ago.
Junaidah added that currently there are two main programmes under the National Population and Family Development Board Malaysia (NPFDB) - the breastfeeding advocacy programme available at 49 Nur Sejahtera Clinics nationwide and Mamacare Programme that provides postpartum care services to new mothers.
Among the impactful segment of the conference is a series of workshops that took place involving discussions on the adoption of the ‘International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes’ that aims to protect breastfeeding and prevent aggressive marketing practices that risk preventing mothers from completing their own breastfeeding target, improvements to the International Labour Organisation’s Convention code 183 concerning maternity protection for working parents and analysing mother-and-child friendly policy that are being implemented by health institutions in Malaysia.
The report from these workshops is expected to be submitted to the relevant ministries for further consideration.
The conference will also feature a ‘Breastfeeding & Childcare in Islam’ post-congress session on August 30 - focusing on the methods and principles relating to breastfeeding and childcare from the Islamic perspective. First of its kind in the country, the session will look into topics including vaccination, breastfeeding guidelines, child marriage, gender equity and child protection.
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