You are here: Home People Speak Nothing is as good as mother’s milk for a baby: Mrinal Pande
Nothing is as good as mother’s milk for a baby: Mrinal Pande

Aug 23, 2013

Mrinal Pande, Chairperson, Broadcasting Corporation of India (Prasar Bharati), in an interview to OneWorld South Asia, said that mothers should discard age-old superstitions and adopt breastfeeding in the best interest of their babies.

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OneWorld South Asia: Why is quality nutrition still a challenge for children in India?

Mrinal Pande: Nutrition is still a challenge for Indian kids, partly because of ignorance. Because of age-old superstitions, breastfeeding is being discouraged, a practice which weakens both the baby and mother and makes it difficult for a mother to produce milk.

People should realise that a mother’s milk is best for the baby. Undernourished and anemic women too have problems in producing enough milk, which is also a big deterrent in improving children’s health.

Then other factors like contamination of water also spoil the health of children. These are problems which are avoidable.

OWSA: How do you look at the Indian government’s initiative of providing free iron and folic acid tablets to school girls? Do you think such steps would solve the health problem?

Pande: I am not cynical about such measures being taken by the government. It is a fact that most of the teenage girls in this country are anaemic and iron tablets are very important for them.

Since the meals consumed by poor families lack proper nutrients, provision of additional supplements is a welcome step.

OWSA: How do you look at the market for baby food?

Pande: There is a whole lobby of milk food producers in developing countries.

But people should be apprised of the fact that nothing is as good as mother’s milk for a baby. The quality of this milk changes as the child grows and according to his -changing needs.

OWSA: What kind of role can parents play to ensure that their children stay healthy?

Pande: Parents need to be tougher when it comes to their children’s diet. Unfortunately, most parents do not mind what their children are eating and allow them to gorge on fast food without realising that it could be detrimental to their health in the long run.

OWSA: Do you think medical practitioners are shying away from the role of educating people especially mothers about proper nutrition including the importance of breastfeeding?

Pande: Medical practitioners are usually overworked and cannot counsel people on a one-to-one basis. They are bound by their own constraints and are hard pressed for time and do not have the time to interact with people on an exhaustive level.

However, there should be nutrition counselors attached to the hospitals responsible for creating awareness on issues like nutrition and the importance of healthy practices like breastfeeding.

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