Question around hygiene education
Does the hygiene education include promoting breast feeding rather than bottle fed even when clean water is available to prepare the bottles?
See this response from Om: First of all, the statement in the question needs to be corrected. At WaterAid we don’t promote ‘hygiene education’ believing that educating people doesn’t necessarily change behaviours; therefore we rather motivate, promote and change the social norms related to specific behaviours using novel approaches. Secondly, irrespective of availability of water, we always promote exclusive breastfeeding up to six months. That’s the only way child gets enough nutrients, maintains water level in the body and builds immune system to better protect from infection / diseases in their early life. Introducing bottled milk is altogether a different behaviour and the consequences are sometimes devastating such as ingestion of contamination either through the unclean bottle, used untreated water while preparing the bottle milk or milk itself. Mainly in low and middle-income countries, the exposure to contamination while feeding bottle milk is highly likely. (continued below)
Usually this is not prioritized, but there are some recent efforts to focus more on infant hygiene, such as: http://babywashcoalition.org/ where is is surely a topic. Although I am doubtful that breast feeding is always the better option as mothers might also not have the best nutritional status either...
(continued from above) Bottled milk is an option if mother’s milk is not enough for children or the mother is sick from lifelong diseases and unable to feed the breastmilk. Even in this case, the bottle needs to be fully clean (sanitized), the water needs to be treated before preparing milk.
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