Three out of every five newborn babies around the world miss the chance to get off to the best possible start because they are not immediately breastfed, the WHO and UNICEF now state in a new report (1).
Studies have shown that every hour counts: compared to children who have been breast-fed in their first hour of life, the risk of death increases in babies who are first breast-fed 2 to 23 hours after birth by a third. In children who are first breastfed on the day after birth, the risk of death has already doubled. One reason for the life-sustaining effect of immediate breastfeeding is the high content of nutrients and antibodies in the foremilk, whose effect equates to a first vaccination.
The WHO and UNICEF therefore object the world-wide practice for a lack of better knowledge to feed babies initially with honey, sugar water or artificial baby food in the first few minutes of their lives. The report is part of the World Breastfeeding Week campaigns whose motto in 2018 was “Breastfeeding – the Basis for Life!”.
(1) WHO. 2018. 3 in 5 babies not breastfed in the first hour of life. Published on 31. July 2018. New York/Genua. http://www.who.int/news-room/detail/31-07-2018-3-in-5-babies-not-breastfed-in-the-first-hour-of-life. Further information: WHO und UNICEF. 2018. Capture the moment – Early initiation of breastfeeding: the best start for every newborn. New York.