ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Renowned Child Specialist Dr Azhar Chughtai on Thursday advised the mothers to refrain their infants from formula milk and protect them from carrying associated health complications.
“Mothers should exclusively breastfeed their babies at least during the first six months and avoid formula milk which is the root cause of many diseases including diarrhea and acute respiratory infections among children,” the Specialist said.
Lack of awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding in Pakistan poses a significant health risk to infants, he lamented.
The expert warned that babies are being exposed to high levels of aluminium in formula milk, which they claim could damage their health.
The Health Expert agreed that those children, who are fed additional and supplementary diets rather than breastfeeding, are not as mentally and physically healthy as those who are breastfed for at least the initial six months.
Dr Azhar said many formula milk companies had been working in the country to attract the mothers but mostly these companies are selling low quality and substandard powder milk, he added.
The Child Specialist said these companies through promotional advertisement and innovative planning capture the attention of mothers who consider using formula milk a best option for their babies.
Many are those who die before reaching one month of age due to diarrhea, pneumonia, respiratory infections and malnutrition. A major source of these diseases was lack of breastfeeding, use of unhygienic bottles, formula milk and teats, he added.
By avoiding formula milk and encouraging mother-milk, child maternal mortality rate could be controlled, he added.
Dr Azhar Chughtai recommended breastfeeding as the best choice for babies as it helped defend against infections, prevent allergies and protect them against a number of chronic conditions.
The Specialist said that breast milk was the natural first food for babies as it provided all the energy and nutrients that the infant needed for the first months of life and it continued to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs up to second year of life.
Dr Azhar stressed the media should spread awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding to improve the health of mothers and their children.