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85 percent of Moldovan infants are breastfed in the first six months of life but not exclusively, as UNICEF and WHO recommend

Chisinau, August 1, 2010 – According to the statistics of Ministry of Health, 85% of infants up to six months are breastfed, while infants up to three months are breastfed at even a greater proportion - 93%. Still, only 45% of children are fed exclusively with breast milk during the first six months of life, according to the latest Demographic and Health survey.

World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend mothers to breastfeed their babies up the age of two years. In the first six months of child’s life, breastfeeding should be exclusive. "Exclusive breastfeeding" means that no other liquid or food, except breast milk is given to the child. Up to the age of six months, breast milk meets all nutritive needs of the child and is the only food product that can be digested and assimilated.

Any other food than breast milk may harm baby's digestive system, causing damage to the stomach, including the risk of intestinal infection. Breast milk provides the best nutrition tailored to the needs of infants and young children. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of malnutrition, anemia, and underweight; and ensures better cognitive development of the child.

Equally important is that the baby is taken to mother's breast from the very first minutes of life. In the maternity hospitals in Moldova this practice is applied since 1998 and works successfully- the frequency of taking the infant immediately to the mother’s breast in the delivery room is growing. Currently 94.4% of women giving birth, take their baby to the breast immediately after delivery. This rate increased from 92.4% in 2001 to 94.4% in 2009, according to "Quality of perinatal health services” study of the Ministry of Health.
All women have the right to an environment which protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding. Employed mothers, according to the law, have the right to a special work schedule that guarantees time reserved for child’s breastfeeding.

The week of promoting breastfeeding, marked by the international community during August 1 to 7, is organized in Moldova by the Ministry of Health in partnership with UNICEF and WHO to inform families with small children and future parents about the benefits of breast milk for children of young age.



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