Medicine

3 in 5 newborns not breastfed within first hour of life

3 in 5 newborns not breastfed within first hour of life

The dataset released by UNICEF also showed that Nigeria made the greatest leap in the number of newborns that were breastfed within one of delivery between 2007 and 2008 when the figures increased by 4.8% for babies delivered by mothers with primary or no education and 12% for babies delivered by mothers with secondary and higher education.

Mothers who breastfeed their children exclusively until they are six months of age help their child's brain develop, and also help a baby avoid undernutrition while cutting its risk of obesity. Skin-to-skin contact along with suckling at the breast stimulate the mother's production of breastmilk, including colostrum, which is produced ahead of regular milk, in the first few days after giving birth. It also said that while instant breastfeeding is very common in eastern and southern Africa, that is not the case in East Asia and the Pacific, where less than a third of newborns get to drink their mother's milk soon after being born.

Breastfeeding also helps with mother-baby bonding, allowing a woman to spend precious time with her new baby as she provides her with a foundation for life.

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus, said "breastfeeding gives children the best possible start in life".

Approximately 80 million babies are at risk of dying or developing diseases because of breastfeeding delay after birth.

The report notes that newborns who breastfeed in the first hour of life are significantly more likely to survive. The lives of an estimated 823,000 children under the age of 5 could be saved each year if more women breastfed.

Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF's executive director, said in a statement, "When it comes to the start of breastfeeding, timing is everything".

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"Each year, millions of newborns miss out on the benefits of early breastfeeding and the reasons - all too often - are things we can change".

In Latin America and the Caribbean, just half of all babies are breastfed within the first hour or life, an essential part of saving the lives of newborns. "It protects a child from infections and reduces the risk of death by up to 22% in the first month of life", said AIIMS' gynaecology and obstetrics department professor and head, Dr Alka Kriplani.

WHO and UNICEF urge all stakeholders in Viet Nam including policy makers, health staff, parents, caregivers tocontinue the efforts and to take strong action to ensure that babies are breastfed within the first hour after birth and exclusively breast fed for the first six months.

Analyzing data from 76 countries, the report reveals some of the reasons why too many newborns are left waiting.

The rise in elective C-sections: In Egypt, caesarean section rates more than doubled between 2005 and 2014, increasing from 20% to 52%.

Gaps in the quality of care provided to mothers and newborns: The presence of a skilled birth attendant does not seem to affect rates of early breastfeeding, according to the report.

These measures include the adoption and monitoring of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (The Code) and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions; the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI); the implementation of a policy on maternity rights in line with the Convention and Recommendation of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on maternity protection; and specialized assistance for the feeding of infants and young children.


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