Benefits of Mother's Milk

Health professionals, mothers, learning many benefits of breastfeeding

Nursing your baby has significant health benefits

The week advocates exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, which yields tremendous health benefits, providing critical nutrients, protection from deadly diseases, such as pneumonia, and fostering growth and development.

It is with this aim that the Lancashire Infant Feeding Partnership (LIFP) is hoping to increase awareness of the partnership which facilitates a coordinated approach to the delivery and development of high standards of breastfeeding services and consists of infant feeding leads, midwives, health visitors, lactation consultants and breastfeeding peer supporters from across Lancashire.

"By failing to invest in breastfeeding, we are failing mothers and their babies-and paying a double price: in lost lives and in lost opportunity", said UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake.

The Scorecard compiles data from countries all over the world on the status of seven priorities set by the Global Breastfeeding Collective to increase the rate of breastfeeding.

Present annual funding is at $85 million by donors and $250 million by governments in low and middle income countries.

In addition, breastfeeding has medical and psychological benefits for the mother with faster maternal recovery, a return to their normal weight, and reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described breastmilk as "a baby's first vaccine", protecting them from potentially deadly diseases.

On the whole, less than 44% of reports say that mothers breastfeed their babies within the first hour of birth.

More must be done to support women to continue breastfeeding beyond the first few weeks and to continue doing it for "as long as they wish", according to new recommendations published today to mark the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week [Tuesday 1 August].

The UN agencies, therefore, called on countries to invest in educational campaigns and health programmes to encourage breastfeeding as well as enforcing an global code to prevent the misleading marketing of formula milk.

New British mothers begin with high breastfeeding rates, with almost three-quarters feeding their own milk to their newborns.

Dr Baseer said that civil society and parliamentarians have to work hard for implementation of International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes, 1981 approved by the WHA and must take all possible measures to protect and promote breastfeeding in all circumstances.

According to the report, strengthening the links between health facilities and communities, encouraging community networks which protect, promote, and support breastfeeding as well as strengthen monitoring systems can also help.

Both UN agencies emphasize that breastfeeding is critical to achieve numerous Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), asserting that it improves nutrition, SDG 2; prevents child mortality and decreases the risk of non-communicable diseases, SDG 3; and supports cognitive development and education, SDG 4. It improves nutrition, prevents child mortality, and decreases the risk of noncommunicable diseases, and supports cognitive development and education.

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