Breastfed kids tend to have stronger immune system

National 2 minutes, 40 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

CHILDREN who were breastfed until the age of six months or up to two years will have stronger immune system and are generally healthier than babies fed with infant milk formula. They also tend to retain their ideal weight.

Reducing the risk of obesity is a benefit of breastfeeding. Scientific research had proven that mother’s milk is the best sustenance for infant and protects the babies from bacteria and infections such as lung infection and diarrhoea.

Paediatric Consultant Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital Dr Hjh Rohayati Hj Mohd Taib said mother’s milk contains all nutrients needed for babies.

“Mother’s milk contains proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and trace elements that is needed for optimal growth and development of a child,” she said speaking at the public forum on breastfeeding yesterday.

“Many studies also found that breastfed individuals have higher intelligence.”

She added they were less likely to be overweight and obese in their childhood and adolescence, and can avoid the Type 2 diabetes.

Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health Datin Paduka Dr Hjh Norlila Dato Paduka Hj Abdul Jalil said Brunei is one of the countries in the world to have high obesity level at 27 per cent as compared to global average rate at 12 per cent.

“Almost one-third or 27 per cent of Bruneians practice unbalanced diet and have more than 30 Body Mass Index (BMI). This means that they are obese. Another two-third or 61 per cent of Bruneians are overweight,” she said.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity can be linked with other chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and depression.

Another forum speaker Dr Hjh Sarinah Hj Yahya, lecturer at Usuluddin Faculty of Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA), said Islam encourages breastfeeding children until they reach the age of two years old.

“There are several ayat (sentence) from at least four surah (chapters) in Al-Quran which put emphasis on the importance of breastfeeding.

“It is the child’s right to be fed with the mother’s milk. It (breastfeeding) would also nurture the bond between the mother and child,” she said in her talk on “Breastfeeding from the Islamic perspective”.

Dr Hjh Sarinah added that Islam also listed a father’s responsibility in the family. “While the mother nurture and breastfed her children, the father have the responsibility to provide shelter, food and protect his family.”

The half-day forum was organised by the Maternal Infant and Young Nutrition Taskforce, Ministry of Health (MoH), at the Department of Fire and Rescue Hall, Old Airport Berakas yesterday.

Datin Dr Hjh Norlila said more mothers are breastfeeding their babies until their sixth month.

She said the percentage of mother breastfeeding their babies exclusively increased more than double from 12.4 per cent in 1999 to 26.7 in 2009.

“Although the percentage had increased tremendously, the rate is still considered low when compared to developed countries such as South Korea where the percentage of mother breastfeeding their children exclusively until six months old is more than 65 per cent.”

Other speakers at the forumwere Obstetrics and Gynaecology consultants from Raja Isteri Pg Anak Saleha Professor Madya Dr Hjh Roselina DPH Yaakub and invited speakers Professor Dr Adlina Suleiman and Siti Norjinah Moin from the Malaysian Breastfeeding Association.

The Brunei Times