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Breastfeeding promotion: a vital emergency intervention disregarded?

Author: Patten, T. Afr Health.
Year: 1997
Resource type: Article

Breastfeeding promotion: a vital emergency intervention disregarded? Patten T. Afr Health. 1997 Sep;19(6):24

Abstract: PIP: This article explains the need for promotion of breast feeding among donors and humanitarian aid organizations in emergency situations. Breast feeding offers fewer health hazards than artificial feeding in war or emergency settings. Breast feeding normally also provides the advantage of immune protection for the infant, psychological well-being of the mother and child, fertility regulation, an hygienic food source, and an economic means of feeding infants. Many war casualties are women and children. War casualties are exposed to injury, the disruption of water and food supplies, epidemics, and other detrimental social and environmental conditions. Refugees tend to have a poorer psychological state of health than control populations. This is attributed to displacement, sexual violence, loss of emotion support, and loss of cultural traditions. Women lose traditional sources of independence and authority when their homes are destroyed. Prevailing conditions of conflict that contribute to a mother's anxiety and insecurity may interfere with a mother's "let down" reflex and lactation. Health professionals in emergency settings need to be aware of breast feeding difficulties. Mothers with the proper encouragement and support can overcome their breast feeding difficulties. The promotion of breast feeding is a practical means of helping women gain control over their lives. Breast feeding allows women to feed their infants safely and effectively, to feed their infants by a cheap and sustainable means, to contribute to the well-being of another, to rebuild feelings of confidence, and to reduce intervention costs. Promotion of breast feeding can be started without delay.

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Patten, T. Afr Health. (1997). Breastfeeding promotion: a vital emergency intervention disregarded?. www.ennonline.net/bfpromotion

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