Happy New Year! I hope 2019 promises many good steps forward in your Baby-friendly Journey. This blog is going to pick up where we left off last year, going over each of the individual Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
Step 6: "Do not provide breastfed newborns any food or fluids other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.”
Prelacteal feeds, defined as fluids or substances taken before milk, are common practice around the world. Salve, Inamdar, Tambe, Sahu, and Doibale (2014) state, "Prelacteal feeds such as honey, sugar-water, jaggery water, castor oil and goat's milk are commonly given in many developing countries including India which carries potential risk of infection and aspiration. Prelacteal feeds are given under the belief that they act as laxatives, cleansing agents or hydrating agents or as a means of clearing the meconium...[or] in the context of a ritual whereby the person administering the prelacteals holds an elevated status within the family or community,” (p 1422).
Legesse, Demena, Mesfin and Haile (2014) report, "The term 'makamesha' is used for the traditional prelacteal feeds in rural Amhara communities. It might include butter, cow's milk, ersho (a traditional baking soda prepared by incubating the flour and double distilled water), water, honey, banana, herbal drinks, and other substances,” (p. 190).
What are common prelacteal feeds in your area of the world? How can we avoid these practices which have a definitive effect on the exclusively breastfed infant?
Kathy Parkes, MSN-Ed, RN, IBCLC, FILCA CHC
Professional Development Educator
Salve, D., Inamdar, I.F., Tambe, S., Sahu, P., and Doibale, M.K. (2014). Study of pre lacteal feeding practices and its determinants in a rural area of Maharashtra. Scholars Journal of Applied Medical Sciences. 2(4D): 1422-1427.
Legesse, M., Demena, M., Mesfin, F., and Haile, D. (2014). Prelacteal feeding practices and associated factors among mothers of children aged less than 24 months in Raya Kobo district, North Eastern Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study. International Breastfeeding Journal. 9: 189-197.
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