Petitioning Ministry of Women & Child Development - Government of India and 1 other

Make it mandatory to get parents' consent before giving Artificial Baby Milk (‘‘ABM’’)

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In a survey conducted by a 50,000 member strong Facebook Group ‘Breastfeeding support for Indian Mothers’, well over 50% of respondents who gave birth in private hospitals indicated that their child had been given ABM (‘formula') at birth.  Of those instances where ABM was given, a whopping two thirds said that it was given without their consent.

Exclusively breastfeeding from birth ensures optimum growth, development and health.

Some of the health risks of not breastfeeding to the baby:

-       Increased risk of infectious morbidity

-       Middle ear infections

-       Lower respiratory tract infection

-       Gastrointestinal infections

-       Necrotizing Enterocolitis

-       Elevated risks of childhood obesity

-       Increased risk of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

-       Increased risk of Leukaemia

-       Increased risk of SIDS

-       Among premature infants, not receiving breast milk is associated with an

o   increased risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

o   increased risk of developing allergies

o   increased risk of developing Asthma

Some of the health risks of not breastfeeding to the breastfeeding parent:

-       Increased risk of premenopausal breast cancer

-       Increased risk of ovarian cancer

-       Increased risk of retained gestational weight gain

-       Increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes

-       Increased risk of Myocardial infection

-       Increased risk of developing osteoporosis

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812877/

If supplementation with formula is required, this should be discussed with the parent(s) and their consent obtained.

In addition to the health risks outlined above, there are further potential risks to the breastfeeding relationship by providing ABM to an exclusively breastfed baby. They include but are not limited to the following.

·       As breastfeeding works on a demand/supply basis, the more a baby feeds at the breast, the more milk is produced. If a baby has a complementary feed/s there is less breast stimulation which can lead to a fall in milk supply.

·       If breastfeeds are missed or replaced with complementary feeds, this results in longer intervals between feeds increasing the risk of the breastfeeding parent’s breasts becoming full and painful (engorgement).

·       Complementary feeds of ABM can lead to the breastfeeding parent stopping breastfeeding earlier than their desired goal

We have set up this petition to urge the Indian government via the Ministry of Women & Child Development to introduce mandatory consent forms in all hospitals requiring a discussion with and signature from parents before supplementing with ABM. The consent form should state the risks associated with administering ABM and the conditions under which ABM needs to be administered as stated by the WHO http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/69938/1/WHO_FCH_CAH_09.01_eng.pdf

Some additional details about the medical conditions under which ABM might be administered have been listed at http://www.bfmed.org/Media/Files/Protocols/ABMProtocol_3%20Revised.pdf

Promoting breastfeeding is an excellent tool to reduce healthcare expenses in a country.

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Suggested wording for consent form

Name of the breastfeeding parent  …………………….

Unit………………………………

Ward…………………………………….. 

Dear Breastfeeding parent:

This form has been designed to let you take an informed decision about introducing ABM.  Leading health bodies around the world, including the World Health Organisation (‘‘WHO’’) states that a baby should be exclusively breastfed, meaning breastfeeding or breast milk during the day, and night, with no other liquids, milk, or other foods until 6 months of age.  If your baby is to receive other milk, it is necessary to have your consent after receiving the information from the physician who is in-charge of your baby’s care.

I __________________________the breastfeeding parent of the baby admitted in___________ward

ACKNOWLEDGE THAT:

Doctor ________________________________________ has explained to me the advantages of feeding my baby with breast milk as the most suitable milk for my baby.

Some of the health risks of not breastfeeding to the baby:

-       Increased risk of infectious morbidity

-       Middle ear infections

-       Lower respiratory tract infection

-       Gastrointestinal infections

-       Necrotizing Enterocolitis

-       Elevated risks of childhood obesity

-       Increased risk of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

-       Increased risk of Leukaemia

-       Increased risk of SIDS

-       Among premature infants, not receiving breast milk is associated with an

o   increased risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

o   increased risk of developing allergies

o   increased risk of developing Asthma

Some of the health risks of not breastfeeding to the breastfeeding parent:

-       Increased risk of premenopausal breast cancer

-       Increased risk of ovarian cancer

-       Increased risk of retained gestational weight gain

-       Increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes

-       Increased risk of Myocardial infection

-       Increased risk of developing osteoporosis

In addition to the health risks outlined above, there are further potential risks to the breastfeeding relationship by providing ABM to an exclusively breastfed baby. They include but are not limited to the following.

·       As breastfeeding works on a demand/supply basis, the more a baby feeds at the breast, the more milk is produced. If a baby has a complementary feed/s there is less breast stimulation which can lead to a fall in milk supply.

·       If breastfeeds are missed or replaced with complementary feeds, this results in longer intervals between feeds increasing the risk of the breastfeeding parent’s breasts becoming full and painful (engorgement).

·       Complementary feeds of ABM can lead to the breastfeeding parent stopping breastfeeding earlier than their desired goal

I declare that I have understood the difference between feeding my baby with my milk only or supplementing with other milk.  Because it is my right, after being informed I decide, authorize and give my consent to use other milk for my baby.

Name of the Breastfeeding parent ______________________

SIGNATURE_________________________

Name of the witness_________________________

SIGNATURE_________________________

Breastfeeding parent’s attending physician is_____________________________________

Baby’s attending physician is_____________________________________

Signature of physician or other medical professional _________________________

Date  ____________________

 

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Ministry of Women & Child Development - Government of India
  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare - Government of India

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