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August 11, 2018

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78m babies not breastfed in the first hour of life

78m babies not breastfed in the first hour of life

Islamabad : An estimated 78 million babies – or three in five – are not breastfed within the first hour of life, putting them at higher risk of death and disease and making them less likely to continue breastfeeding, say UNICEF and WHO in a report that urges governments, donors and decision-makers to adopt strong legal measures to restrict the marketing of infant formula and other breast-milk substitutes.

Titled ‘ Capture the Moment,’ the report analyzes data from 76 countries and finds that despite the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding, too many newborns are left waiting too long for different reasons, including Feeding newborns food or drinks, including formula; rise in elective C-sections; and gaps in the quality of care provided to mothers and newborns.

The report notes that newborns who breastfeed in the first hour of life are significantly more likely to survive. Even a delay of a few hours after birth could pose life-threatening consequences. Skin-to-skin contact along with suckling at the breast stimulate the mother’s production of breast-milk, including colostrum, also called the baby’s ‘first vaccine’, which is extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies.

Breastfeeding rates within the first hour after birth are highest in Eastern and Southern Africa (65%) and lowest in East Asia and the Pacific (32%), the report says. Nearly 9 in 10 babies born in Burundi, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu are breastfed within the first hour. By contrast, only two in 10 babies born in Azerbaijan, Chad and Montenegro do so, it informs.

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