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If more infants worldwide are exclusively fed mother's milk-no food or formula until the age of six months-at least 1.3 million lives could be saved this year, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said recently.
With more than 10 million children dying annually from mainly preventable causes like diarrhea and pneumonia, the agency said if every baby were exclusively breastfed for the first half-year of life, an estimated 3,500 lives could be saved each day.
UNICEF cited these statistics in calling for greater global commitment to support breastfeeding. "If a child dies a preventable death it's because mothers and infants are not getting the basic support they need," said UNICEF chief Carol Bellamy. Calling breastfeeding "the most natural act of mother and new-born," she said the practice has not been properly supported considering that it holds the key for children to develop well in good health.
Bellamy said every mother who chooses to exclusively breastfeed for six months has the right to services and support from their governments, communities, and families. Breastmilk contains all the nutrients, antibodies, hormones, immune factors, and antioxidants that an infant needs to thrive during the first six months of life. It also protects babies from diarrhea and acute respiratory infections while stimulating their immune systems.
In the first two months of life, an infant who is not exclusively breastfed is up to 25 times more likely to die from diarrhea and four times more likely to die from pneumonia than a non-breastfed baby, UNICEF said. Growth and development may stall and the child stands a greater risk of obesity, heart disease, and gastro-intestinal problems in later years.
Despite this evidence, only 39 per cent of babies worldwide are being breastfed exclusively in the first six months. UNICEF helps governments to support breastfeeding, including through supporting legislation that restricts formula promotions, which deter women from breastfeeding.
i breastfed rayanne until she was six months, i would have loved to go longer but she lost intrest. that is what i get for pumping and giving it to her in a bottle at times. wasnt often but she loved the bottle. next baby is going to be breastfed probably for the first year. food starting probably at 6months. i started rayanne on cereal at 4months.
Well I was only able to breastfeed the twins for 6-8 weeks (dont remember exactly) then due to stress and what was going on in our lives at the time I had to quit. The girls rarely ever get sick, and when they do it doesnt last. They had one bad cold this winter, and that was because Krystle kept getting sick and bringing it home. If I ever have more children I plan to breastfeed, hopefully though if we do they will not be so tiny that I cant let them latch on, when I was trying to feed the girls one breast was almost bigger than both of the twins put together. I am a firm beliver that BM is best,