When It Comes to Breastfeeding, ‘Timing Is Everything’ in Saving Newborn Lives – UNICEF Chief


Human Wrongs Watch

Three-in-five babies, mostly born in low- and middle-income countries, are not breastfed within the first hour of life, placing them at higher risk of death and disease, according to a new United Nations report launched on 30 July 2018.

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UNICEF/Ilvy Njiokiktjien VII Photo | Thirty-two year old Delgermurun breastfeeds her eight-day-old baby amidst her family in a ger, Alag-Erdene, Mongolia.

 

Analyzing data from 76 countries, the report reveals some of the reasons why too many newborns are left waiting.

One common practice is to discard colostrum, and instead feed the infant honey, sugar water or infant formula, which also delays a newborn’s first critical contact with its mother.

The rise in elective C-sections also has an impact, with a study across 51 countries noting that in this type of delivery, initiation rates among newborns are significantly lower.

Earlier studies, cited in the report, show that newborns who began breastfeeding between two and 23 hours after birth, had a 33 per cent greater risk of dying, compared to those who breastfed within one hour. And the risk more than doubled among newborns who started a day or more after birth.

The report urges governments and other decision-makers to adopt strong legal measures to restrict the marketing of infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes to help address the situation.

The WHO and UNICEF-led Global Breastfeeding Collective also released the 2018 Global Breastfeeding Scorecard, which tracks progress for and urges countries to advance breastfeeding policies and programmes to help mothers breastfeed their babies in the first hour of life. (SOURCE: UN).

2018 Human Wrongs Watch

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