Breastfeeding All Newborns Could Save 830,000 Lives A YearMain Category: Pediatrics / Children's Health
Also Included In: Pregnancy / Obstetrics | Aid / Disasters | Nutrition / Diet
Article Date: 19 Feb 2013
If all mothers breastfed their newborns straight away after they were born, about 830,000 lives annually would be saved, says Save the Children in a new report. The authors added that there are four major barriers to better breastfeeding.
In their report, titled "Superfood for Babies", Save the Children emphasized that there are four barriers that make it harder for more women to breastfeed successfully, including during the critical "power hour" immediately after birth.
The four major barriers are:
"Last year, we saw a lot of handwringing in this country over how long is too long for moms to breastfeed. But the real scandal is that many moms around the world don't get the support they need to start breastfeeding early - or even at all. It's a choice all moms should have, and in the developing world it can literally be a matter of life and death for their babies."
Breastfeeding during the "power hour" after birth saves livesA newborn's immune system is "jump-started" with colostrum, known as the first milk. The earlier a mother starts breastfeeding the more likely she is to carry on doing so for six months, which significantly reduces the risk of malnutrition and deadly diseases in infants, the authors explained.
After carrying out an analysis of the best studies on early breastfeeding that were carried out in Asia and Africa, the authors concluded that universal breastfeeding within that first "power hour" could save the lives of 830,000 babies each year.
Worldwide, breastfeeding rates have remained stubbornly low at 40%. Breastfeeding is the most effective tool today to reduce child deaths, Miles explained.
Mothers in the USA and worldwide face barriers to breastfeedingThere are several barriers to successful breastfeeding. The authors listed the following:
Although more American mothers are breastfeeding today than before, they are still not receiving the support they need if they decide to breastfeed or plan to carry on doing so for several months.
Are mother getting enough support?Miles said:
"Women everywhere should have all the support and information they need to make the best choices for themselves and for the health and survival of their children. At the same time, all of us can do something to help save hundreds of thousands of babies from needless death. It's a matter of raising our voices for these children."
Malnutrition is the underlying cause of one third of all child deaths worldwide - more than 2 million lives are lost every year. Breastfeeding provides infants with the best possible defense against malnutrition, the report explains.
Save the Children is urging Secretary Kerry to renew America's commitment to a critical 2010 global nutrition initiative, which will expire in June this year. The 1,000 Days Partnership has already helped hundreds of thousands of infants in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Indonesia, who managed to survive and grow up healthy.
Below are some facts regarding breast milk and breastfeeding which are included in the report:
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