Mothers and children hoped that the law is more strictly enforced in an effort to curb the promotion of formula for young children in hospitals and doctors’ offices. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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At a time when the world is seeing a boom in breast-feeding rates, Lebanon remains stubbornly stuck on formula, and although the Health Ministry has sought to counter this, activists want the government to crack down on companies skirting the law.Public health research and clinical evidence overwhelmingly conclude that breast-feeding is the best option for both mother and baby's health.AUB pediatrician Haya Hamade's 2013 study of mothers in the Lebanese capital found that the rate of those that exclusively breast-feed was only 27 percent.While breast milk is best for both mother and child, some doctors are right to recommend formula under circumstances that may jeopardize the baby's health.President of the Lebanese Society of Pediatrics, Dr. Imad Chokr, said breast-feeding was most important in the first six months to one year, but agreed milk could be supplemented with formula if there were problems with the child's development. Bledina, one of the largest formula companies in Lebanon, declined to be interviewed, but parent company Danone released the following statement: "We believe that 'Breast milk is the best' and the importance of protecting and promoting exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months and continued breast-feeding for as long as possible.
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