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Jordan’s exclusive breastfeeding rate ‘below regional average’

young mom with baby boy mother-breast feeds
(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — Jordan’s exclusive breastfeeding rate is at 24 percent for two to three-month-old infants, falling below the 34-percent regional average, the Higher Population Council (HPC) was cited as saying on Monday by the Jordan News Agency, Petra.اضافة اعلان

In a statement on World Breastfeeding Week, the council indicated that the percentage drops further to 11 percent for four to five-month-old infants.

By comparison, an average of 41 percent of infants under six months old are exclusively breastfed worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Pointing to the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, the HPC noted that there are missed opportunities to use breastfeeding for contraception, also known as the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM), adding that only 1.1 percent of women in the Kingdom have used LAM as a contraceptive method.

A recent Population and Family Health Survey showed that about 30 percent of births in Jordan occurred less than two years after a previous child was had, contrary to international recommendations. The council cited the short exclusive breastfeeding period and lack of consultation on effective birth control as possible reasons for the issue.

Highlighting other benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, the HPC pointed out that breast milk is nutritious for newborns, and that adolescents and adults, who were exclusively breastfed, are less likely to be overweight and are more likely to perform better in intelligence tests. Moreover, exclusive breastfeeding helps avoid a third of respiratory infections and reduces the risk of sudden infant deaths by more than a third.

According to its official website, WHO, along with UNICEF, recommends initiating breastfeeding within the first hour of the birth of a child who should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, meaning no other foods or liquids are provided, including water.

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