Breastfeeding rate in Bangladesh lower than neighbours: report

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 DHAKA, May 13, 2018 (BSS)- Children in Bangladesh are getting less opportunity of breastfeeding than the neighbouring countries, according to a latest report.

UNICEF released the report today while people across the world including Bangladesh are celebrating the International Mother’s Day, a day when mother figures are honoured around the world.

The report credited the women in South Asian countries as champions of breastfeeding, but put Bangladesh behind its neighbours.

According to the report, at least 99 percent of children are breastfed in their young lives in Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka and 98 percent in Afghanistan. The percentage is between 94 and 97 in other countries in the region, excepting Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, only 51 percent of babies are breastfed within an hour after birth and 55 percent of infants less than six-month old are exclusively breastfed,” the report said.

UNICEF, however, said that it has been supporting various initiatives in Bangladesh for years to help reduce the gap in breastfeeding practices.

For instance, Unicef referred to the Mothers@Work programme that support working mothers in the country’s garment sector to continue breastfeeding upon returning to work.

According to Unicef, children should be breastfed for two years and beyond because it provides an important source of nutrients for healthy growth and can prevent half of deaths during a child’s second year of life. Furthermore, it leads to higher performance on intelligence tests among children and adolescents.

“Breastfeeding for longer periods is also important for mothers’ health, for each year a mother breastfeeds, her risk of developing breast cancer falls by six percent,” Unicef said.

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