3 in 5 Babies Not Breastfed in the First Hour of Life

60% of babies ‘at risk due to breastfeeding delay after birth’

Infants delivered through caesarean section are at higher risk of death and disease, Unicef and World Health Organization say in a new report.

As our Prime Minister returns to work this week to juggle running the country and a new baby Save the Children NZ are encouraging more employers to provide facilities to enable mothers to breastfeed their babies for longer.

Today kicks off World Breastfeeding Week 2018 and Harford County Health Department would like to take this time to promote breastfeeding within the county, as well as showcase the comprehensive breastfeeding support services offered by our Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program.

"Skin-to-skin contact, along with suckling at the breast, stimulate the mother's production of breastmilk, including colostrum, also called the baby's "first vaccine", which is extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies", said Haque.

In Egypt, for example, breastfeeding decreased from 40 percent in 2005 to 27 percent in 2014. Those first breastfed between two and 23 hours after birth face a 30 per cent higher risk of death within their first 28 days than those breastfed within the first hour after birth, it said.

However, India has made some progress within a decade from 2005-15 and has doubled breastfeeding initiation in the first hour of birth. "If they start a concert (by crying), or if they are uncomfortable or too warm or don't feel at ease or are hungry. breastfeed them, don't be afraid, feed them, because this too is the language of love", he said in an improvised homily.

They say babies born by caesarean sections are less likely to be breastfed within their first hour, and that skilled health providers at births need better training so they encourage and support breastfeeding. The lives of an estimated 823,000 children under the age of 5 could be saved each year if more women breastfed.

Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, in her message on the World Breastfeeding Week, said: "When it comes to the start of breastfeeding, timing is everything".

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UNICEF recommend that babies should be exclusively breastfed up to an age of six months, after which they can begin incorporating some food and other liquid into their diet alongside breastfeeding. But this average masks dramatic disparities in breastfeeding rates across countries.

"Each year, millions of newborns miss out on the benefits of early breastfeeding and the reasons, all too often, are things we can change", she said.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, just half of all babies are breastfed within the first hour or life, an essential part of saving the lives of newborns.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged scaling up efforts to support mothers to give their children the start they deserve.

The report is based on United Nations Children's Fund data from 76 countries. Among 51 countries, early initiation of breastfeeding is significantly lower among newborns delivered by C-section.

Despite not having data on breastfeeding mothers in the US and Europe, WHO researchers estimated that 2.6 million children, or 21 percent, in these high-income countries are not breast fed.

In the report, UNICEF and World Health Organization urge governments to adopt strong legal measures to restrict the marketing of infant formula and other breast milk substitutes.

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