In poor countries, breastfeeding can save lives. In the first hour of birth, breastfeeding helps baby’s immune system, which is a priority in areas where diseases are widespread. This first hour is a true lifesaver; babies nursed during this time are three times more likely to survive than if they are breastfed a day after birth.
Save Our Children released a report, Superfood for Babies, about the barriers to breastfeeding and ways to overcome them. One important point is that “Breastfeeding is critical to preventing malnutrition and saving children’s lives in the developing world. Breastfeeding immediately after birth could help save 830,000 newborn babies from dying a year, and exclusive breastfeeding for six months could save even more babies and children.”
If breastfeeding can save lives, why are women in poor countries not nursing their babies?
Cultural Pressures – Many women cannot make their own choices, including how to feed their babies. Husbands or community do so.
Lack of Education – There’s a shortage of healthcare workers, who teach pregnant woman and help deliver babies. When these workers are involved, women are more likely to breastfeed especially during that critical first hour.
Lack of Maternity Laws – Even though it is known that breastfeeding saves lives, laws that support new mothers are nonexistent in many countries. Those that would help include maternity leave, financial assistance and workplace breastfeeding legislation.
Introduction of Baby Formula – There are international laws against free samples of formula, advertising and more, but some companies are finding ways around this or blatantly disregarding them.
Women everywhere should know about the health benefits and the joys of breastfeeding. I nursed both of my daughters, one for 3 months and the other for 13 months. I bonded with my babies and felt that natural high due to the endorphins released. It’s something I miss, even now (daughter 1 is 25, daughter 2 is 14).
Did you know that breastfeeding saves lives?
Very Important! Sign the petition urging Secretary Kerry to help mothers around the world get more support around breastfeeding and lifesaving nutrition for their babies.