birth, but according to the World Health Organization, only 44% of them continue to breastfeed for six months.
Such mothers start formula feeding as an alternative, because infants cannot eat solid foods for the first six months, so they are fed breast milk or infant formula.
This is why the current shortage of formula milk in the US has made the situation dire, as only a quarter of mothers in the US breastfeed their babies for six months.
The shortage of formula milk in the United States is due to production and supply chain issues, further exacerbated by the Food Department’s investigation into Abbott Nutrition, a major formula maker.
It should be noted that Abbott and three other companies produce 90% of the formula milk
Research shows that breast milk is the healthiest and safest source of food for infants. It also plays a key role in the mother-child relationship
So why do mothers prefer formula feeding instead of breastfeeding?
There are many factors that cause a baby not to breastfeed. But many experts say a mother’s hospital experience at the time of childbirth matters
For decades, the World Health Organization has been emphasizing the provision of a ‘baby-friendly’ environment in hospitals to promote breastfeeding.
The first 24 hours after birth are very important for newborns as they learn how to breastfeed.
‘Newborn-friendly’ initiatives have been implemented in hospitals in Europe and America, but this has not happened in other regions of the world so far. Antonina Mutoro, a researcher with a child care agency in Kenya, helped conduct surveys for a recented Nations report examining the situation in Nairobi’s informal settlements.
The results of this survey revealed that only two percent of mothers of newborns were exclusively breastfeeding their babies.
This is also important because the mothers living in these densely populated settlements could not even afford to buy formula milk. Instead of feeding her own milk, she was feeding the children cow’s milk and soft foods
One of the main reasons for not breastfeeding was that mothers were not taught how to breastfeed their babies after giving birth in the hospital, says Mitoro. She explains, “If the newborn-friendly facility is not available in the respective hospital after birth, many times the staff says to give the baby to us, we feed it with formula.” Thus begins the series.
Also, doctors sometimes tell the mother that her milk is not enough. However, Mitoro says that after birth, when the baby is placed on the mother’s breast, demand is created, which also causes milk to flow.
The problem is not ignorance of the benefits of breast milk. According to Mayutoro, medical staff know how important breast milk is to a child’s health. But the structure to promote this process is not there. Many doctors and nurses do not train mothers on how to breastfeed and instead give formula milk.
Then there is the influence of infant formula companies. In 1981, the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, developed a code of advertising for breast milk substitute products. The regulation prohibits formula makers from advertising their products in a way that discourages breastfeeding.discourages breastfeeding.
However, according to the report of the World Health Organization that came out in February this year, these companies are actively promoting their products online, and for this purpose, they are adopting such methods of online advertising, which in 1981 were not present at the time of making the rules. These methods include providing access to mothers by collecting information through algorithms and apps
The report stated that even after four decades of implementation of this regulation, the rate of breastfeeding has remained stagnant, but the rate of sale of formula milk has doubled.
Lack of practical training
Rafael Pérez Escamilla, one of the authors of the World Health Organization report, says that even in most newborn-friendly hospitals, women are not provided with the training or support they need to know what to expect when they go home. How to breastfeed?
According to Escamilla, there are two main reasons for this. The first reason is that most medical nursing schools only teach how to breastfeed for two hours during training.