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    065658

    Realizing the benefits of breastfeeding.

    Smith P

    INTER-AMERICAN PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT BULLETIN. 1990 Dec; 7(12):1-5.

    A lack of support for and information about breast feeding has contributed to the decline in its practice worldwide. The article provides support for the benefits of breast feeding and discusses existing and potential legislation affecting breast feeding and urges policy makers to provide accurate information per Article 4 of the WHO/UNICEF Code. A list of the benefits includes: infant protection against disease, excellent and inexpensive source of nutrition, no contamination of milk supply, lower maternal risk, financial savings, and a complement to family planning. It is noted that artificial formulas and bottles are perceived by poor women as the desirable modern way, and formula companies promote their product in such a manner as to restrict the possibility of breast feeding. It is suggested that effective national health policies include: 1) paid maternity leave with government support, 2) job security after delivery with no loss of seniority, 3) establishment of breast feeding facilities in the workplace or community, 4) provision for nursery breaks without loss of pay, and 5) flexible employment arrangements such as part-time or shorter shifts. Most countries in the Western Hemisphere have a maternity leave policy with the exception of Belize, Saint Vincent, and the US. 18 countries have statutory provisions for nursing breaks at work, and 19 countries require nurseries to be available. Worker satisfaction and lower absenteeism are some benefits to companies supportive of breast feeding practices. The WHO/UNICEF education code recommends information on 1) the advantages of breast feeding, 2) maternal nutrition and preparation for breast feeding, 3) negative effects of partial bottle feeding, 4) the difficulty of resuming breast feeding after stopping, and 5) the correct preparation of breastmilk substitutes made commercially or at home.
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