Promotion of Breast Feeding

Breast Feeding
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As per the UNICEF Report “The State of World’s Children, 2015”, the rate of early initiation of breastfeeding in South Asia is 39% and that of exclusive breastfeeding is 47% which is lower than India. In India, as per the recent Rapid Survey on Children, 2013-14, the rate of early initiation of breastfeeding is 44.6% and exclusive breastfeeding up to the age of 6 months is 64.9%.

This Ministry is taking following steps for promotion of breastfeeding in the country:

• National Guidelines on Infant and Young Child Feeding, 2006, have been issued, through which appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices are emphasised.

• Infant Milk Substitutes Feeding Bottles, and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1993, as amended 2003,has been enacted in the country to protect and promotebreastfeeding and ensure proper use of infant foods.

• Recently, the National Steering Committee on Infant and Young Child Feedingand National Coordination Committee on Infant and Young Child Feeding have been notified to give policy guidelines, coordinate and integrate all activities relating to breastfeeding and IYCF and advise on measures to promote breastfeeding.

• The restructured ICDS Mission also aims to increase Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices in the country. Under the Care and Nutrition Counseling component, focus is to provide counseling to women on issues relating to infant feeding practices. Under the Mission, there is also provision of an additional Anganwadi Worker in 200 High Burden Districts of the country for imparting counseling and behavior change communication through community and home visits as well as demonstration of appropriate feeding practices.

• Indira Gandhi MatritvaSahyogYojana (IGMSY), which is a centrally sponsored Conditional Maternity Benefit scheme for pregnant and lactating women, aims to improve nutritional and health status of pregnant and lactating women across the country by partly compensating for their wage loss. The scheme encourages women to follow optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding practices including early and exclusive breast feeding for the first six months. The scheme is now operational in 53 selected districts across the country.

• Food and Nutrition Board under the Ministry is engaged in creating awareness on health and nutrition issues with strong focus on ‘Infant and Young Child Feeding’ (IYCF). “World Breastfeeding Week” is also celebrated every year from 1-7 August by organizing various activities such as State level Workshop/ Seminar, lecture-cum-practical demonstration, etc. for creating greater awareness. Awareness is also generated through audio-visual medium for promotion of optimal IYCF.

This information was given by the Minster for Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.