5 things you need to know about breastfeeding

If breast milk is the best, why has not the world invested in it?

According to Newsweek, most pediatric health experts agree that when it comes to infant development, breast milk is the best. Many studies have shown the great benefits of breastfeeding. Breast milk helps strengthen your baby's immune system and protects baby from illness. Some studies even found a relationship between breastfeeding and IQ development in the early months of development. In addition, breastfeeding also tightens the relationship between mother and baby. 

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However, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), despite these recognized benefits, no country in the world responds to meet the standards of breastfeeding. 

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The 2017 Global Breastfeeding Scorecard tracked breastfeeding rates in 194 countries. Only 40% of infants under 6 months old are exclusively breastfed (breastfeeding only). There are 23 countries with 60% breastfeeding rates. The lack of investment in education and awareness of breastfeeding in countries like China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Nigeria has resulted in 236,000 deaths each year, costing $ 119 billion. 

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However, the experts say this problem can be easily remedied. It will cost only $ 4.7 per infant to increase the rate of children under 6 months breastfed to 50% by 2025. 

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The report also provides information on the barriers that prevent breast milk from becoming the main source of nutrition for newborns. Here are 5 of them: 

-Only 44% of infants worldwide are breastfed within the first hour after birth. Global health officials want to increase this number to 77%. 

-The main reason why mothers who do not breastfeed is due to work. Only over 10% of countries in the report provide maternity leave for at least 18 weeks and still guarantee income. 

-The World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) was launched in 2004 to help countries assess policies and programs on breastfeeding practices. However, only 77 countries have completed evaluating these activities with WBTi's tools for the last five years. 

-The battle for breastfeeding is also a declaration of war on formula milk. In the 1980s, global health officials acknowledged that advertising and marketing of infant formula milk made mothers no longer breastfeed. The World Health Assembly passed the International Code on the Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes in 1981. Unfortunately, only 39 out of 194 countries in the report have issued this rule, which means that companies continue to make huge profits from formula milk, at price to pay is the health of the community. 

By: Stephan Swift

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