Punjab: Only 30% mothers breastfeed newborns within one hour of birth

Early breastfeeding plays a critical role in reducing infant mortality, say experts

Jalandhar (Punjab): Women in Punjab lag behind in breastfeeding their newborns within one hour of their birth. This adversely affects the health of the children and reduces their immunity.

Health experts recommend that breastfeeding should begin within the first hour of a baby’s life. But according to National Family Health Survey-4, only 30 per cent babies in Punjab get their mother’s milk within the first hour after birth. At all-India level, this percentage is 42. This means 70 per cent newborns do not get mother’s milk within first hour of their life.


Dr Anil Sood, senior member of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, said the baby’s immunity power or the power to fight diseases increases substantially it gets mother’s milk within an hour of birth.

This milk known as colostrum delivers nutrients in a very concentrated form, is low in fat and sugar and is highly beneficial for the newborns. Colostrum is antibacterial and antiviral. The possibility of infections is greatly reduced in babies who get colostrum, Dr Sood said.

Don’t delay breastfeeding: Expert

Dr Sood informed the percentage of women breastfeeding their babies within one hour of birth is twice in Kerala as compared to Punjab. Speaking at the conclusion of Breastfeeding Week here, he urged the women not to be misled by any misconception and not delay the start of breastfeeding beyond one hour after birth.

47 per cent children don’t get mother’s milk

Health Minister Brahm Mahindra said newborn mortality could be reduced by 20 per cent by early initiation of breastfeeding. He said in Punjab 53 per cent mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies during the first six months, while 47 per cent children don’t get their mother’s milk.

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