Breast milk better than formula; prevents jaundice

Pediatricians at the University of Ghana Medical Centre have advised lactating mothers to exclusively breastfeed their children with breast milk instead of formula until they are six months old.

This is because breast milk is much better than baby formula milk -it is natural, but formula is produced from cow.

They said breast milk was also healthy, helped the immune system and prevented babies from getting serious infections, jaundice, brain, and liver damage.

‘Breast milk is much better than formula. Formula is cow’s milk irrespective of the branding and the processing that goes into it… It is still cow’s milk.

‘So, we always want the mothers to breastfeed because it is healthy, it helps the immune system and prevents babies from getting serious infections. It also prevents them from getting jaundice from those infections,’ Dr Emmanuel

Amoah, one of the Pediatricians, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview.

He said this during the Neonatal Jaundice Awareness Month celebration at the UGMC.

The even
t was held under the theme: ‘Newborn Jaundice and Exclusive Breastfeeding: Midwives and Nurses lead’.

It was to create awareness about neonatal jaundice.

Neonatal Jaundice is a common condition in newborns, characterised by a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes due to elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood.

Dr Amoah noted that one of the factors that caused jaundice in newborns was the lack of exclusive breastfeeding at the preliminary stages of a child’s life.

He said exclusive breastfeeding helped the baby to obtain the optimum nutrient and the hydration he/ she needed to excrete the excess bilirubin and prevent the jaundice infection.

‘When you breastfeed early enough, you give the baby the optimum nutrition and hydration he needs to be able to handle jaundice that may build up during the first week of life. When you initiate breastfeeding quickly, the children can excrete bilirubin in their urine,’ he said.

He, therefore, advised mothers to choose the best for their children by breastfe
eding instead of feeding the children with formula.

He also asked that mothers be supported both at health facilities and home to breastfeed their newborns.

Dr Vanessa Ann Vanderpuye, another pediatrician at the Centre, said out of the 600 babies admitted at UGMC in the past four months now, about 280 were diagnosed with jaundice.

She said though there were other factors that caused jaundice in children, most of the cases recorded at the Hospital were because of the lack of breastfeeding.

Source: Ghana News Agency