World Breastfeeding Week on Early Start of Breastfeeding

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Breastfeeding babies immediately after birth can prevent a significant number of neonatal deaths in develop...
Breastfeeding babies immediately after birth can prevent a significant number of neonatal deaths in developing countries, said UNICEF during this year’s World Breastfeeding Week. Werner Schultink, UNICEF Chief of Nutrition: "There are scientific evidence that shows if children are given breast milk within the first hour after birth, in conditions like Ghana or other African countries, there is a substantial reduction in neonatal mortality. If we were to breastfeed all children all children exclusively for six months, we could possibly save more than 1 million child lives every year." Breast milk is so much more than just food; it protects babies from diseases such as diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections; it also stimulates the immune systems and improves their response to vaccinations. Despite all the benefits, there are still many mothers around the world who don't breastfeed. Werner Schultink, UNICEF Chief of Nutrition: "The very first milk which a mother secretes immediately after birth contains a great deal of substances, which no infant formula can provide. It contains a specific amount of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins - ideal for the newborn. The protective factor is so unique, that no single formula can provide. If you want, it's basically the first immunization the child gets in his or her life." Working with partners, UNICEF continues to promote breastfeeding as the best way to provide food for a baby's first six months. Here in Venezuela, mothers from the indigenous Wayuu community are learning about breastfeeding during a nationwide health campaign. At this community hospital in Burkina Faso, lactating mothers are receiving treatment for illnesses like malaria. Supporting breastfeeding means caring for the health of the mother as well as the health of their babies. Through supporting the government policies, and improving community-based health care, UNICEF supports mothers around the globe to exclusively breastfeed, and breastfeed immediately after birth.