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Stress does not affect breast milk formation – UNICEF expert


According to the information of the UN Children's Fund (UNESCO) 46% of internally displaced women said that they had stopped breastfeeding their babies before their age of six months due to the stress caused by Donbas conflict.  However, experts say that stress can affect the process of milk let-down, but not its formation. This was told during the briefing of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center today by Kateryna Bulavinova, UNICEF medical expert.

"Breastfeeding is very important in the peacetime, but it's even more important in emergency situations. Because breastfeeding gives a baby not only protection from infectious diseases and all the necessary substances for its growth and development, but also a sense of maternal warmth and feeling of security, – Kateryna Bulavinova believes. – There is a common belief in Ukraine that milk disappears because of stress. However, all experts on breastfeeding say that mother's milk doesn't actually disappear, but the possibility of its let-down is reducing. Therefore, if certain simple rules are followed, mothers can restore breastfeeding, which is very important for young children caught in crisis".

This catastrophic situation is discussed in UNICEF: only one of four internally displaced babies under six months old are breastfed in Ukraine. That is why Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center is joining the initiative of the UN Children's Fund and the World Health Organization (WHO). To promote breastfeeding among the mothers, who suffered due to Donbas conflict, and to act according to international recommendations, the Humanitarian Center's management decided to change the implementation model of "Let's Help Children" program.

Starting from October 28, 2015, Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center renews the composition of food packages for children. Now all babies from 0 to 11 months old are offered two packages to choose: mother's food package, which is aimed to enhance a nursing mother's nutrition, or baby formula set (if a mother switched for artificial feeding). Children from 12 to 35 months old are gradually switching for a "grown-up menu", that is why their food package contains the most essential products.

To inform the population about the benefits of breastfeeding for young children, UNICEF has developed materials with recommendations and published a brochure called "Breast milk is an optimal protection for a baby". Soon through the cooperation and collaborative work of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center and UNICEF 50,000 mothers will know more about breastfeeding practice in emergency situations, by receiving this brochure together with renewed food package for children.

"We hope that our recommendations will be useful for mothers. They particularly consist in the fact that babies under six months old shall be exclusively breastfed, and after six months old they are gradually introduced complementary foods. All international organizations recommend the use of infant formula only on prescription. That is why we approve the transition of the Humanitarian Center to the new format of food package issuance. Thanks to the Humanitarian Center's efforts the renewed packages are oriented on nursing mothers' support and continuation of breastfeeding", – Kateryna Bulavinova assures.