Lactation

Except under extreme famine-like conditions, undernourished women produce sufficient breast milk, but its micronutrient quality can vary depending on the nutritional status of the mother.

Postnatal programs cover the lactation period and include counseling on nutrition (including breastfeeding) and family planning, although these two programs are not usually integrated. Where the prevalence of anemia is higher than 40%, iron/folic acid supplementation should be extended through the first 3 months of lactation. Clinical signs of vitamin A deficiency are known to exist in lactating women, and postpartum supplementation within 6-8 weeks of giving birth has been shown to be beneficial and safe for both the mother and the newborn.

Some programs include provision of a protein and energy supplement during lactation. Controlled trials have failed to show an effect on milk production, but increased weight gain and a sensation of well-being among mothers are potential positive outcomes.

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