Low awareness on breastfeeding not restricted to poor: Montek

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New Delhi: Lack of awareness about breastfeeding is not limited to the poor and vulnerable sections of society, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahuwalia said today.

Addressing conference on breastfeeding here, Ahluwalia suggested that the top 22 per cent population of the country, particularly those families having cars, should be targeted to create awareness about the issue.

He said it was not necessary that people who are prosperous and well-off have knowledge about the issue.

All prosperous states are not aware about it and even women in this part of the country do not opt for breastfeeding, Ahluwalia claimed.

He also unveiled a study -- 'The need to invest in babies' -- which said, "an investment of USD 17.5 billion in one time and recurring costs needs to be made to put in place (for) a package of interventions to create enabling environment for breastfeeding."

According to UNICEF 2013 report, of 135 million babies born every year globally, almost 83 million are not enabled to follow optimal breastfeeding practices.

Only 42 per cent of mothers initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of life, while 39 per cent are able to pratise exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life, and only 58 per cent continue to breastfeed till at least two years of age. 

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