Given the quality of mother’s milk, experts quite reasonably suggested mothers to feed their babies with breast milk. For a newborn, mother’s milk is the best of all foods that nature has ever produced. Breast milk, having all necessary ingredients for healthy growth of infants, is the primary source of nutrition for them. The reason why it is so valued is that it contains protein, fat, carbohydrates as well as vitamins and minerals in right proportions. In addition to that, breast milk is also rich in components that prevent diseases and protect children against infection and inflammation. Feeding breast milk is thus a sort of immunisation for the kids. And babies regularly taking mothers’ milk even do not need to be given extra water up to a certain age.
It has been scientifically established that breast milk has no alternative; no other artificial food is so balanced and so safe for infants. Getting mother’s milk is thus an inalienable and inviolable right of infants. But profit mongers producing so called baby formula, targeting expecting and nursing mothers, are aggressively marketing and promoting their products as essential supplementary foods for the newborn and even as alternatives to breast milk. What is even more alarming is that some health professionals including a section of doctors act as accomplices of the profit mongers and regularly recommend formula milk for babies.
Percentage of women breast-feeding their babies is the highest (65 per cent) in Bangladesh in all the countries that were surveyed to find how infant feeding is influenced by aggressive marketing of formula milk. However, this is far from being satisfactory; possibly all the mothers – other than those who have serious health problems – should breast-feed their babies. Health professionals should also act ethically.