Health topics

Breastfeeding

 

Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding will save more lives of babies and children than any other single preventive intervention. Breastfed children have fewer childhood infections; fewer chronic diseases (diabetes, obesity, cancers in later life); higher Intelligence Quotient (IQ); higher earning potential; more opportunities to prioritize education; and healthier mothers. Breastfeeding reduces burdens on society such as health expenditures, hospitalizations and absenteeism. It also saves families money because it obviates any need for commercial substitutes.

Evidence suggests that infant formula industry advertisements, gifts and sponsorships promote misconceptions and myths and ultimately have a negative impact on feeding practices.

Virtually all mothers can breastfeed.

The Word Health Organization recommends that all infants should:

  • Initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth
  • Feed on nothing but breast milk for the first six months of life
  • Continue breastfeeding until at least the age of two years and beyond
  • Be introduced to adequate, safe and appropriate complementary foods beginning at the age of six months.