BEACON TRANSCRIPT – UNICEF reaffirmed that breastfeeding right after childbirth is crucial for newborns. This is because breastfeeding provides important antibodies and nutritious value, which can be compared to life’s first vaccine. Not breastfeeding babies can expose them to early death.
According to the United Nations, postponing breastfeeding even by 2 hours to 23 hours increases the chances of death in the first month of life by 40 percent. Leaving breastfeeding for later than the first 24 hours of life increases the chances of death by 80 percent.
France Begin, Senior Nutrition Adviser from UNICEF, declared that breastfeeding shortly after birth can make a life-saving difference.
If all babies were to receive just breast milk from the moment of birth until six months of age, 800,000 lives would be saved yearly.
Breast milk represents the newborn’s premiere vaccine, the best quality protection they get against disease and illness. Babies benefit from skin to skin contact and valuable antibodies the breast offers.
Delaying this contact takes away the baby’s chance at life. It limits the supply of milk and reduces chances of breastfeeding exclusively.
This information was broadcasted by UNICEF as the World Breastfeeding Week approaches. It will take place from the 1st to the 7th of August across the world. The aim is to promote healthy baby nutrition through breastfeeding.
Progress on the matter of getting more babies breastfed right after birth has been slow, during the last fifteen years.
Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest infant mortality rates. Over there, early breastfeeding percentages rose by just 10 percent since2000, in South and East Africa. But they remained the same in Western and Central Africa.
Many women don’t know about this issue or do not get the advice they need from a midwife or doctor. It is statistically proven that women who give birth without a skilled healthcare provider are more inclined to breastfeed, than those who are assisted at birth by a doctor or midwife.
Some women delay breastfeeding because they do not have that much food altogether. In other places, babies are given a mix of baby formula, cow’s milk or sugar water in the first days of life. Almost half of all babies are fed these liquids.
But these mixes cannot replace breastmilk, especially during the first six months of life.