Friday, 28 March 2014

'Breastmilk Remains the best for babies'

Following the increase in child mortality in the country, health professionals have said that breast milk remains the best way to ensure child’s healthy life and reduce child mortalities.
According to them, exclusive breast milk during the first six months of a child’s life and for as long as possible in combination with nourishing complementary foods. When breast mike is not possible, infant formula is a healthier alternative to choices such as cows’ milk or rice water.
They also said that infantile colic is a self-limited condition that deserves treatment because it could represent an early traumatic insult for the intestine and could be the early expression of atopic disease, gastrointestinal disorder and psychological problems later in child’s life. They informed infantile colic is characterised by inconsolable crying in an otherwise healthy infant, accompanied by painful expression, flushing, distended abdomen and flatulence. Colic usually starts in the first few weeks of life and generally affects babies until four months.
They said these during Nestle Nutrition Nigeria Plc Symposium held in Ikeja, Lagos on Tuesday.
In her remark, National keynote speaker and Pediatrician from Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Adeniyi Oluwafunmilayo said rule out common causes of child’s crying is the first step in treating an infant with persistent crying.
“Behavioral management, supportive counseling and parental reassurance are the mainstays of treatment. Formulate an effective individualised management plan.
Consistent follow up and a sympathetic physician are the cornerstones of management. Resolving family conflicts and improving family functioning may help to relieve the colic in some babies.
Knowledge of the clinical features of colic correlated with the level of education.
Herbal medicines are the most frequently used medicines of seeds, which are used as a local food seasoning amongst the Yoruba tribe. When dissolved in water and taken, it relieves indigestion by causing excessive flatulence. Its use in the treatment of infantile colic was based on the hypothesis that it removes the excess intraluminal gas in the infant by causing flatulence.”
She continued, “with colic, period of crying most commonly happens in the evenings. Colics can begin as early as two weeks of age and it often disappears when the baby is three to four months old, but it can last up to one year, if not properly managed. Less than five percent of infants with excess crying have an underlying organic disease,” she said.

Oluwafunmilayo noted that Nigerian mothers still have some gap in their knowledge of cause infantile colic.
“Self-medication is the most frequently used home-based interventions for infantile colic and was predominated by traditional herbal medicines.
Nigerian mothers would need to be educated about colic through health education, at pediatric and vaccination clinics, public health campaign and interdisciplinary team approach.
Efficacy and toxicity of the traditional herbal medicines need to be established scientifically for their safe use for Children”.
“Government, should strengthen the policy on sales and use of prescribed medicines in children without prescription so as to promote rational use of medicine in infants with colic,” she said.
The Category Business Manager, Nutrition Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Dr. Mazhar Qureshi Said children, who start life with unbalanced diets face an increased risk of chronic diseases and stunted growth and development.
“Our stay healthy stage-based nutrition system begins with clear support for six months exclusive breastfeeding, whenever possible, and then offers solutions designed to foster healthy growth and development along with good eating habits in children aged six months or older.
We support parents in making the right food choices for their children by providing research-based nutrition products, including maternal and infant health supplements, and by offering appropriate, consistent advice to help them understand that even small changes to a child’s diet can have a big impact on its health today and throughout its life,” he said.
He continued, “we are committed to marketing infant food products in the country in accordance with the WHO Code. We have implemented extensive management systems across all our operations to assure compliance with the WHO Code. These systems give detailed operational guidelines to all our employees involved in the sale and marketing of breast-milk substitutes with the objective of ensuring compliance with our policies and local regulations at all levels. To monitor our compliance, we carry out numerous internal audits and three annual external audits,” he said.
culled from The Guardian

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