Breast milk - all a baby needs
PODGORICA, 5 August 2014 - On the occasion of the World Breastfeeding Week, NGO Parents, with the support of UNICEF, organized a conference aimed at promoting exclusive breastfeeding.
This years’ World Breastfeeding Week, celebrated from the 1st to the 7th August in more than 120 countries, focuses on the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding, towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals."
In the previous few years, the Ministry of Health paid special attention to organizing this particular segment of health protection related to the health of mothers and children. We have to motivate mothers to breastfeed their children. We strive to provide them with the best possible conditions, but the motivation of mothers is equally important, because future mothers have to realize that it is essential to provide their babies with everything they need at the beginning of the life," Deputy Minister of Health, Mira Jovanovski Dasic said.
During the first six months of life, breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition an infant can have.
However, 2013 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) shows that only 14% of women in Montenegro have put their last newborn on the breast within one hour of birth, while only 17% of infants under 6 months were exclusively breastfed.
"To address these problems we need to do three things. Firstly, we need to promote the importance of breastfeeding amongst young mothers. Secondly, we need to make sure that doctors, nurses, people working in the health sector and beyond are promoting breastfeeding. And thirdly, we need to work together to support the Ministry of Health’s commitments to expand baby-friendly hospitals in Montenegro," UNICEF Montenegro Representative Benjamin Perks stated.
The conference also focused on the development and implementation of national infant and young child feeding policies. Further, it underlined the importance of providing trainings to health care professionals, so that they support mothers to initiate and sustain appropriate breastfeeding practices.
"In our everyday communication with mothers, we have assessed that they miss balanced and reliable advice that would calm them down during the first period after the childbirth, which is actually the most stressful one. In September, we are going to initiate the long-awaited group for support to breastfeeding, which will assemble mothers - future advisors for breastfeeding - to attend trainings led by various experts, including pediatricians, psychologists and communication experts. They will learn how to communicate with other mothers and how to help them overcome some of the essential problems related to breastfeeding," the director of the NGO Parents Kristina Mihailovic pointed out.
Exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of baby’s life has tremendous health benefits, such as protection against some deadly diseases, as well as fostering of growth and development. In this regard, UNICEF will continue to promote exclusive breastfeeding in the country, so that every mother can give their child the best possible start to life.