Mon, Aug 03, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Mothers with HIV or AIDS urged to breastfeed babies

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) yesterday urged mothers with HIV or AIDS to breastfeed their newborn, saying the practice has been scientifically proven to be conducive to a baby’s health.

“There have been concerns that mothers staying in the same room as their newborn could make the baby more prone to infection. However, much scientific research has proven otherwise,” HPA Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said.

Chiou said mothers who live in the same room as their newborns are also more likely to breastfeed directly instead of using bottles, which significantly decreases a newborn’s risk of contracting bacteria or viruses.

If the mother has HIV or AIDS, breastfeeding could help increase the six-month survival rate of her baby and reduce the chance of direct mother-to-child transmission, Chiou said.

“Studies have also shown that breastfed newborns are less susceptible to sudden infant death syndrome than their non-breastfed counterparts,” Chiou said.

“The uterus of a woman who chooses to breastfeed also tends to recover from pregnancy and birth more quickly and they are less likely to suffer post-natal bleeding, osteoporosis and breast or ovarian cancers in the future,” she said.

According to the agency’s statistics, the nation’s full breastfeeding rate for babies under six months old rose to 49.6 percent in 2012, close to the WHO’s 50 percent global target for exclusive breastfeeding by 2025.

However, the rate experienced a drop in the following two years, to 48.7 percent in 2013 and further to 45.8 percent last year, the statistics show.

Chiou attributed the declines to the nation’s long-standing practice of taking newborns to the nursery directly after birth.

“Recent analytical research I conducted in collaboration with several specialists found that the full breastfeeding rate was 4.91 times higher in hospitals that allowed new mothers to stay in the same room as their children around-the-clock than those that did not,” Chiou said.

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