Breastfeeding Could Save 1.3 Million Children’s Lives
Posted Jul 31 2009 10:09pm
It has always been believed that breastfeeding is best for babies. Just recently, World Health Organization said that if new mothers know how to breastfeed, it could save the lives of 1.3 million children every year. The problem is, many women do not get any help in this concern and simply give up.
Less than 40 percent of mothers worldwide breastfeed their infants exclusively in the first six months, as recommended by the WHO. Many abandon it because they don’t know how to get their baby to latch on properly or suffer pain and discomfort.
It was said that both poor and rich countries have this same problem. WHO expert Constanza Vallenas is calling for additional assistance from hospitals, clinics and communities to help and support new mothers.
The WHO recommends that babies start breastfeeding within one hour of their birth, and ingest only breast milk for the first six months, avoiding water and other drinks and foods.
This can give children vital nutrients and strengthen their immune system to fight diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. Formula milk does not provide the same immunity and local water can be contaminated or unsafe in many parts of the world.
Raising to 90 percent the global breastfeeding rate for infants to six months would save an estimated 13 percent of the 10 million under-age-5 deaths a year, Vallenas said.
In a statement released to mark World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said it was also important that mothers in disaster zones be given the support they need to continue or restart breastfeeding.