This is a mother and baby friendly document. Hence it starts with '
Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding' which also form the basis of
'Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative'. This document aims at strengthening
'Step 4' by focussing on nature's miraculous way of initiating
breastfeeding by a phenomenon called 'Breast Crawl' i.e.
"Every newborn, when placed on the mother's abdomen soon after birth,
has the ability to find her mother's breast all on her own and to decide
when to take the first breastfeed."
This method is evidence based and has been field tested by us. A
documentary on the 'Breast Crawl' has been prepared for training,
advocacy and for wider dissemination. The video has created a very high
level of sensitivity among all the levels of functionaries and was
officially endorsed by senior policy makers as the right approach for
initiating breastfeeding. This dossier provides the background and a
scientific overview to the documentary.
Initiation of breastfeeding by the Breast Crawl is a critical component of
the IYCF (Infant and Young Child Feeding) initiative for the state of
Maharashtra, India. IYCF deals with nutrition of children from birth to
3 years of age, and also takes into consideration the nutrition of
pregnant and lactating mothers. Two critical components of IYCF are
breastfeeding and complementary feeding. Improved IYCF practices promote
optimal growth and development, prevent malnutrition and improve child
survival. With 40% of the children in the state undernourished, this
initiative becomes extremely critical.
UNICEF has facilitated partnerships with all stakeholders including the
State Government, State Nutrition Mission, the Integrated Child
Development Services (ICDS), Public Health Department, BPNI
(Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India), NGOs, Community Based
Organisations (CBOs) and several academic institutions, for this major
initiative. These partnerships are aimed at creating a revolution in the
state promoting IYCF practices.
Maharashtra is a state privileged to have IYCF specialists trained by
experts such as Dr. Felicity Savage, Ms. Helen Armstrong, Dr. R. K.
Anand, Dr. N. B. Kumta, Dr. G. S. Hathi and Dr. Armida Fernandez. The
breastfeeding initiative in the state acquired momentum through the
concerted efforts of these leaders. They have created a second line of
advocates and trainers who are now aggressively promoting IYCF through
Maharashtra State Branch of BPNI.
We are sure that this documentary and dossier will greatly help similar
initiatives worldwide. It is our strong desire that this information
helps every mother and baby to experience the miracle of Breast Crawl.
If we all could achieve early initiation of breastfeeding, we will be
able to prevent 22% of all deaths among babies below 1 month.
This can be achieved by training all health care providers to initiate
breastfeeding, by Breast Crawl, to give infants the best start in life.