Jakarta (ANTARA) - Exclusive breastfeeding has shown an upward trend from year to year, but the practice is not uniformly distributed across regions yet, according to the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection.

"Even though the trend is rising from year to year, the achievement must be increased, especially in terms of equal distribution in regions," the ministry's acting assistant deputy for the fulfillment of children's rights to health and education Anggin Nuzula Rahma said here on Friday.

She conveyed the statement at the "Guide to Fasting for Pregnant, Breastfeeding Mothers, and Children" webinar.

Exclusive breastfeeding is the provision of breast milk to babies from zero to 6 months without any other supplementary food.

Rahma noted that, based on Statistics Indonesia's (BPS's) National Socioeconomic Survey (Susenas), the percentage of children aged 0–23 months who were provided breast milk in the 2020–2022 period showed an upward trend, rising from 75.68 percent in 2020 to 77.01 percent in 2021 and then to 77.41 percent in 2022.

One of the causes for failure in the provision of exclusive breastfeeding is the culture of providing food to babies shortly after they are born, she noted.

"There is a culture in the community that considers babies after birth must be trained, given a little water, mashed bananas. This is actually not allowed. This has caused failure in the government's program regarding exclusive breastfeeding," she said.

Another problem is that the period of exclusive breastfeeding is too short.

She further said that children under five who are not given exclusive breastfeeding from birth have a 4.8 times higher risk of stunting compared to those who are given exclusive breastfeeding from birth.

"Because the baby's stomach is very small, breast milk alone can perfectly meet all the nutritional needs of the baby," she said.

Related news: Exclusive breastfeeding important for children's growth: Ministry
Related news: BKKBN encourages breastfeeding to prevent stunting in children
Related news: BKKBN bolstering lactation education among working mothers

Translator: Anita Permata, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
Copyright © ANTARA 2023