If all women around the world breastfed their babies immediately after birth, the lives of 830,000 babies a year could be saved, Save the Children estimates in a new report released today.
In “Superfood for Babies,” the international humanitarian and development agency identified four significant barriers that prevent more women from successfully breastfeeding, including during the critical “power hour” after birth. They are: cultural and community pressures, the health worker shortage, lack of maternity legislation, and aggressive marketing of breast-milk substitutes.
“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,” said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children.
Breastfeeding in the “power hour” after birth saves lives
The colostrum, as the first milk is called, jump starts a baby’s immune system. Earlier breastfeeding also leads to higher rates of exclusive breastfeeding for six months, which further reduces vulnerability to malnutrition and deadly disease, Save the Children’s new report explains. (more…)