On February 19, Save the Children launched a milestone report with the title "Superfood for Babies: How overcoming barriers to breastfeeding will save children’s lives"

Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to tackle malnutrition; a simple, natural way to boost a baby’s immune system. If all babies were breastfed in the first hour after birth, the lives of 95 babies would be saved every single hour - 830,000 a year.

The report, Superfood for Babies, says that if babies receive colostrum – the mother’s first milk – within an hour of birth, it will kick start the child’s immune system, making them three times more likely to survive.

And, if the mother continues feeding for the next six months, then a child growing up in the developing world is up to 15 times less likely to die from killer diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea.

Save the Children’s report says that the enormous progress already made in reducing child mortality could be accelerated if more mums were encouraged to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding stalling

Despite the startling statistics, global breastfeeding rates are stalling and actually declining across East Asia and in some of Africa’s most populous countries like Ethiopia and Nigeria.

The prevalence of traditional practices. as well as a severe shortage of health workers and examples of inappropriate marketing techniques by some baby milk substitute companies, have contributed to this.

Save the Children’s Chief Executive Justin Forsyth said: “Despite the benefits of breastfeeding being widely known in the developed world, and it being a free, natural way to protect a newborn baby, too little attention is being paid to helping mums breastfeed in poorer countries."

- Superfood for Babies - full report

- Further info


- EPHA related articles

Last modified on March 11 2013.