Breastfeeding crucial to prevent dwarfism in children: Professor

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The breastfeeding phase plays an important role in preventing dwarfism in children, the University of Indonesia (UI) Public Health Faculty’s Public Health Nutrition Professor, Sandra Fikawati, stated here on Thursday.

“At least 23 percent of newborn babies are already congenitally suffering from dwarfism, so it takes greater efforts through breastfeeding to prevent a lasting condition,” Fikawati noted.

Hence, she deemed it necessary to pay attention to the nutritional needs of nursing mothers to provide optimal nutrition to the infant through breast milk.

“Nursing mothers must consume more nutritionally than pregnant women for an exclusive six months of (providing) breast milk to the baby, so that it is in good health,” she explained.

According to Fikawati, when a mother breastfeeds exclusively, the baby depends entirely on her for its nutritional requirements, so it becomes necessary during this time to pay attention to the mother’s nutritional intake.

“Moreover, currently, the prevalence of pregnant women, with chronic deficiencies in energy is high in addition to anemia. After childbirth, the mother does not have more time to improve her nutritional status, except by eating nutritious foods while breastfeeding,” she explained.

Fikawati suggested that the breastfeeding phase can become a government concern, especially for the Ministry of Health, which has a special program for preventing dwarfism.

In the ministry’s Specific Nutritional Intervention Program, nine efforts are made to prevent dwarfism both before the baby is born and after birth.

“When a nursing mother is required to provide adequate nutrition to the baby, she needs to have sufficient protein and nutrition herself. Hence, this is something that is missed by the Health Ministry’s program, which does not pay attention to the breastfeeding phase,” she stated.

Fikawati also recommended the government to provide subsidies to facilitate people’s access to foods containing animal protein.

Source: Antara News