2. Africa: Breast Milk Is a Baby’s First Vaccine – Unicef
As the World Breastfeeding Week (Aug 1- 7) kicks off today, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has revealed how delaying breastfeeding of the baby in the first few hours of birth can markedly increase their risk of dying.
UNICEF said in a statement that delaying breastfeeding by 2-23 hours after birth increases the risk of babies dying in the first 28 days of life by 40% while delaying it by 24 hours or more increases it to 80%. One in two children (nearly 77 million) globally are not put to the breast within an hour of birth, depriving them of essential nutrients, antibodies and skin-to-skin contact with their mother that protects them from diseases and death. “Making babies wait too long for the first critical contact with their mother outside the womb decreases the newborn’s chances of survival. It limits milk supply and reduces the chances of exclusive breastfeeding,” France Bégin, UNICEF Senior Nutrition Adviser, said in a statement. ” If all babies are fed nothing but breast milk from the moment they are born until they are six months old, over 800,000 lives would be saved every year,” Bégin added.