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The 77 million babies are not breast-fed during the first hour of life


Deferred breastfeeding increases the risk of infant death by 80%


According to UNICEF, around 77 million infants or 1 from 2 are not breast-fed during the first hour of life, deprived of vital nutrients, antibodies and skin to skin contact with the mother, which protects them from sickness and death.


“When children are forced to wait outside the womb this first crucial communication with their mother, a decrease in the likelihood of living infant, the quantity of breast milk and exclusively on the likelihood of breastfeeding is observed” said UNICEF nutrition chief adviser Franco Beguin (France Begin). “If all infants fed only breast milk from birth to 6 months since then approximately 800,000 lives would be saved”.


According to UNICEF data, in the last 15 years has been slow progress in breastfeeding babies during the first hour of life. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, where the mortality rate among children under 5 years of age is the highest in the world, since 2000 early lactation increased only by 10% and remained unchanged in Eastern and Southern Africa West and Central Africa.


“Breast milk is baby’s first vaccine, the first and best defense against disease,” said Francis Bergin. “Up to half of the total number of infant mortality deaths among children under 5 years of age whereas breastfeeding is the role of life and death”.


UNICEF’s analysis shows that women do not get the support we need to start immediately after the birth of a child in breast-feeding even when the doctor, the nurse assist in childbirth. In Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, for example, women who give birth with the help of an experienced health worker, it is unlikely that they will start to breastfeed within the first hour of life than women who give birth with the help of not so skilled health worker or relatives.


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