Diarrhea Prevention Steps in Children
PREVENTION OF DIARRHEA
Step 1: Breast - Feeding :-
Prof. A. Gaffar Billoo, Saira Waqar Ahmed
Department of Pediatrics
Aga Khan University Karachi, Pakistan
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Although breast milk is the best and safest food for young infants, the incidence of breast feeding is declining in most developing countries. Some of the reasons for this decline include the following:-Belief that bottle-feeding is modern; the aggressive promotion and marketing of infant formulas; the need for mothers to work away from their children; the lack of facilities for breast-feeding at places of work; fear of not being able to breast-feed adequately
and lack of medical and nursing support for mothers who want to breast-feed. Some major benefits are that breast-fed babies have fewer episodes of diarrhea, less severe episode and a lower risk of dying from diarrhea than babies who are not breast-fed.
Important advantages of breast-feeding are:
Exclusive breastfeeding protects against infectious morbidity and mortality during the early months of life (7). In Peru, for example young infants who received on-nutritive liquids, artificial milks, or solid foods in addition to breastfeeding had 2-5 times greater prevalence of diarrhea than their exclusively breastfed counterparts. (8) Similar results have been reported from the Philippines. (9) Thus, if complementary foods are introduced earlier than necessary, they are likely to cause increased rates of otherwise preventable childhood diarrhoea. (10) Nevertheless, the optimal age for introduction of non-breast milk foods has been debated because excessively delayed initiation of these foods could result in low energy and nutrient intakes and consequent malnutrition. The World Health Organization currently recommends exclusive breast feeding for four to six months, whereas UNICEF states that complementary feeding should be initiated at about six months. Because of the considerably increased risk of diarrhea associated with introduction of these foods, a two-month difference in their timing of introduction of theses foods could have important implications for global burden of diarrhea.
If possible, infants should be exclusively breast-fed during the first 6 months of life. At 6 months of age, infants should start to receive cereals and other foods to meet their increased nutritional requirements, but breast-feeding should be continued at least until one year of age and preferably till age of two years. Breast milk given after the age of 6 months is an important source of nutrients and it continues to help protect the child from repeated episodes of severe diarrhea.
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