Two years ago a Mexican consumer organization was lamenting the small percentage of women that breastfeed their babies in the six months following birth. But there has been a turnaround since.
Consumer Power (El Poder del Consumidor) was saying in 2014 that just 14.4% of women were breastfeeding. Today, the percentage has doubled, to 30.8%, according to the federal Secretary of Health.
José Narro Robles provided the new figure during the presentation of “Breastfeeding: Key for sustainable growth,” a national program being held in conjunction with the World Breastfeeding Week, August 1 to 7.
But despite the improvement in breastfeeding, Narro Robles said it isn’t time yet for Mexico to pat itself on the back. “Breastfeeding should not be a trendy issue, but a permanent one.”
The United Nations children agency UNICEF, represented in Mexico by Isabel Crowley, applauded Mexico’s efforts and the results achieved, which showed that “it is possible to revert a trend that seemed nearly impossible.”
“Mexico has the capability, the medical professionals and structures and the necessary systems to continue to increase breastfeeding; however, there must be a stronger will to do so,” said Crowley.
The goal for the country, she said, should be at least 80% of Mexican babies breastfeeding during the first six months of their lives for the health and nutritional benefits to be gained.
The UNICEF percentage may not be hard to achieve. The National Institute of Perinatology reports that 71% of the women it cares for exclusively breastfed their children.
Meanwhile, the national health service, IMSS, reported that it has opened a lactation center in Mexico City at the Pediatrics Hospital of the Siglo XXI National Medical Center, whose goal is to promote breastfeeding.
On that same note, the city government announced that its December 2015 commitment to end the current year with 100 such centers is moving forward, with 57 already fully operational.
Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera said the centers provide women with optimal conditions for breastfeeding, along with information and awareness campaigns.
Mancera added that breast milk “is like a vaccine, it’s full of defenses . . . . It’s impossible to substitute the nutrients and basic substances in breast milk with other kinds of food.”
Source: Milenio (sp)