Fomula scandal prompts call for return to breastfeeding

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baby bottleThe World Health Organization and UNICEF last week urged Asian mothers to return to breastfeeding in the wake of a series of infant deaths caused by melamine-contaminated powdered baby formula in China.

An update issued by WHO states that more than 40,000 children have sought medical attention after eating the formula, and nearly 13,000 more are receiving treatment in hospitals. So far, three deaths have been confirmed.

The organizations stress that breast is best for babies.

According to an article on Rueters.com, "no infant formula contains the perfect combination of proteins, carbohydrates and fats to enhance infant growth and brain development as breast milk does." Breast milk also contains antibodies that protect children against stomach upsets like diarrhea.

Experts say more and more Asian women have turned away from breastfeeding and adopted formula as the preferred food for their children.

However, medical experts warn that, on top of risking their infants' health, mothers in China are also putting themselves at risk by consuming more and more dairy products.

Right now, only 1 percent of the Chinese population is diagnosed with breast cancer, but occurrences of breast cancer-and also osteoporosis- will increase doctors say, if Asians continue to adopt a more Western-style diet.

Breastfeeding advocates advise women to exclusively breastfeed their babies for at least the first six months of their lives.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.