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Annals of Saudi Medicine. 2009 Jan-Feb; 29(1):20-3.BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life. Our objective was to evaluate trends in infant nutrition in Saudi Arabia and the degree of compliance with WHO recommendations. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A nationwide nutritional survey of a sample of Saudi households was selected by the multistage probability sampling procedure. A validated questionnaire was administered to mothers of children less than 3 years of age. RESULTS: Of 5339 children in the sample, 4889 received breast milk at birth indicating a prevalence of initiation of 91.6%. Initiation of breastfeeding was delayed beyond 6 hours after birth in 28.1% of the infants. Bottle feeding was introduced by 1 month of age to 2174/4260 (51.4%) and to 3831/4260 (90%) by 6 months of age. The majority of infants 3870/4787 (80.8%) were introduced to "solid foods" between 4 to 6 months of age and whole milk feedings were given to 40% of children younger than 12 months of age. CONCLUSIONS: The current practice of feeding of Saudi infants is very far from compliance with even the most conservative WHO recommendations of exclusive breastfeeding for 4 to 6 months. The high prevalence of breastfeeding initiation at birth indicates the willingness of Saudi mothers to breastfeed. However, early introduction of complementary feedings reduced the period of exclusive breastfeeding. Research in infant nutrition should be a public health priority to improve the rate of breastfeeding and to minimize other inappropriate practices.
Indian Journal of Community Medicine. 2006 Jun; 31(2):65.WHO and other international agencies has recommended that mother should breast feed the children exclusively for 4-6 month from birth and continue breast feeding along with appropriate supplemental food up to second year. Breast feeding should be initiated within an hour of birth instead of waiting several hours as is often customary. Although there is little milk at that time, it helps to establish feeding and a close mother-child relationship, known as "bonding". A community based study was conducted in the area of Experimental Teaching Health Sub Centres, Mati and Banthra under the Rural Health Training Centre, Sarojini Nagar, Department of community Medicine, K, G. Medical University, Lucknow. 200 lactating mothers were interviewed using a pre tested proforma to collect information regarding sociodemographic characteristics, current feeding practices, time of initiation of breast feeding and colostrum given to the new borns. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., Pan American Health Organization [PAHO], Division of Health Promotion and Protection, Food and Nutrition Program, . 37 p.Adequate nutrition during infancy and early childhood is fundamental to the development of each child’s full human potential. It is well recognized that the period from birth to two years of age is a “critical window” for the promotion of optimal growth, health and behavioral development. Longitudinal studies have consistently shown that this is the peak age for growth faltering, deficiencies of certain micronutrients, and common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea. After a child reaches 2 years of age, it is very difficult to reverse stunting that has occurred earlier. The immediate consequences of poor nutrition during these formative years include significant morbidity and mortality and delayed mental and motor development. In the long-term, early nutritional deficits are linked to impairments in intellectual performance, work capacity, reproductive outcomes and overall health during adolescence and adulthood. Thus, the cycle of malnutrition continues, as the malnourished girl child faces greater odds of giving birth to a malnourished, low birth weight infant when she grows up. Poor breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices, coupled with high rates of infectious diseases, are the principal proximate causes of malnutrition during the first two years of life. For this reason, it is essential to ensure that caregivers are provided with appropriate guidance regarding optimal feeding of infants and young children. (excerpt)