MAA - "Mother’s Absolute Affection" is a nationwide programme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in an attempt to bring undiluted focus on promotion of breastfeeding and provision of counselling services for supporting breastfeeding through health systems. The programme has been named ‘MAA’ to signify the support a lactating mother requires from family members and at health facilities to breastfeed successfully.
Goal –The ‘MAA’ Programme is to revitalize efforts towards promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding practices through health systems to achieve higher breastfeeding rates.
· Build an enabling environment for breastfeeding through awareness generation activities, targeting pregnant and lactating mothers, family members and society in order to promote optimal breastfeeding practices. Breastfeeding to be positioned as an important intervention for child survival and development.
· Reinforce lactation support services at public health facilities through trained healthcare providers and through skilled community health workers.
· To incentivize and recognize those health facilities that show high rates of breastfeeding along with processes in place for lactation management.
Key components of the programme are –
· Communication for enhanced awareness and demand generation through mass media and mid media;
· Training and capacity enhancement of nurses at government institutions, and all ANMs and ASHAs. They will provide information and counselling support to mothers for breastfeeding;
· Community engagement by ASHAs for breastfeeding promotion, who will conduct mothers’ meetings. Breastfeeding mothers requiring more support will be referred to a health facility or the ANM sub-centre or the Village Health and Nutrition Day (VHND) organized every month at the village level;
· Monitoring and impact assessment is an integral part of MAA programme. Progress will be measured against key indicators, such as availability of skilled persons at delivery points for counselling, improvement in breastfeeding practices and number of accredited health facilities; and
· Recognition and team awards will be given to facilities showing good performance, based on evaluation against per pre-decided criteria.
Key messages –
· Early initiation of breastfeeding; immediately after birth, preferably within one hour.
· Breast-milk alone is the best food and drink for an infant for the first six months of life. No other food or drink, not even water, is usually needed during this period. But allow infant to receive ORS, drops, syrups of vitamins, minerals and medicines when required for medical reasons.
· After 6 months of age, babies should be introduced to semi-solid, soft food (complementary feeding) but breastfeeding should continue for up to two years and beyond, because it is an important source of nutrition, energy and protection from illness.
· From the age of 6–8 months a child needs to eat two to three times per day and thereafter, three to four times per day starting at 9 months – in addition to breastfeeding. Depending on the child’s appetite, one or two nutritious snacks, such as fruit, home-made energy dense food, may be needed between meals. The baby should be fed small amounts of food that steadily increase in variety and quantity as he or she grows.
· During an illness, children need additional fluids and encouragement to eat regular meals, and breastfeeding infants need to breastfeed more often. After an illness, children need to be offered more food than usual, to replenish the energy and nourishment lost due to the illness.