Less than half of all newborn babies are breastfed within one hour of being born, a global breastfeeding report from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has found. Newborn babies who are not breastfed soon after birth face an increased risk of death.
"Making babies wait too long for the first critical contact with their mother outside the womb decreases the newborn's chances of survival, limits milk supply and reduces the chances of exclusive breastfeeding," said France Bégin, UNICEF Senior Nutrition Adviser in a UNICEF press release. UNICEF said a delay of two to 23 hours increases death risk in the first 28 days of life by 40 percent and this doubles to 80 percent if the delay reaches 24 hours or more.
Challenges In Initiating Breastfeeding
Forbes reported two major hindrances to increasing breastfeeding initiation rates across the globe. These are the lack of skilled attendants during the delivery of babies and the use of cow's milk, sugar water or infant formula to feed babies during the first three days of a baby's life.
The UNICEF report, called From the first hour of life, said that there is "enormous potential for skilled birth attendants to better support women in initiating breastfeeding immediately after birth - to not take advantage of this is a missed opportunity." Meanwhile, liquids other than breast milk are said to reduce demand for mother' milk and make the supply of breast milk harder to establish and maintain.
World Breastfeeding Week
Sub-Saharan Africa is an area of concern when it comes to breastfeeding infants from their first hour of life, according to Huffington Post. Mortality rates for those children under five in this region are still reportedly the highest when compared to other areas in the world.
The UNICEF said that there are still 21 million newborns in South who experience a delay in breastfeeding even as breastfeeding rates have increased to 60 percent in 2015 from 51 percent in 2000. The UNICEF released its breastfeeding report before World Breastfeeding Week, which runs from August 1 to 7 internationally.
© 2021 ParentHerald.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.