A Delay In Breastfeeding Increases Risk Of Infant Death

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Infants delivered through caesarean section are at higher risk of death and disease, Unicef and World Health Organization say in a new report.

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week, and while New Zealand compares well with other developed countries when it comes to initiating breastfeeding, our children are not being breastfed for as long as global guidelines recommend, says Save the Children NZ CEO Heidi Coetzee.

Skin-to-skin contact helps to kick-start the production of breastmilk, which in the first few days following an infant's birth contains colostrum. The rate of early initiation of breastfeeding in Viet Nam decreased from 44 per cent in 2006 to 27 per cent in 2013. If not breastfed within one hour after birth, babies might be exposed to illnesses and even death, as a new study revealed, carried out by UNICEF and the WHO.

Eastern and South Africa had some of the highest rates, with 65 percent of newborns fed in the first hour.

However, the percentage of infants having breast milk in the first hour of birth is higher in the urban area.

"WHO is working with governments and NGOs to make breastfeeding easier for all women", Mr. Jasarevic said in an email to The Washington Times.

In Egypt, only 19% of babies born by C-section were breastfed in the first hour after birth, compared to 39% of babies born by natural delivery.

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Speaking ahead of the release of the report, she said that it helps to start breastfeeding correctly, it helps to prevent babies from dying in the first month of life and it helps protect babies against certain diseases.

"Breastfeeding gives children the best possible start in life", says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, in her message on the World Breastfeeding Week, said: "When it comes to the start of breastfeeding, timing is everything".

The report explained that most of the world's newborns were left waiting too long to begin breastfeeding adding: "In 2017 alone, an estimated 78 million newborns had to wait more than one hour to be put to the breast".

"Yet each year, millions of newborns miss out on the benefits of early breastfeeding and the reasons - all too often - are things we can change". "Improving breastfeeding practices could save the lives of more than 800,000 children under five every year, the vast majority of whom are under six months of age". Deliveries at health institutions grew by 18%, while early initiation rates increased by 6%, shows data from 58 countries between 2005 and 2017.

Breastfeeding within the first hour is highest in Burundi, Sri Lanka, and Vanuatu, which is almost Nine in 10 babies. "The appropriate care of both newborn and mother in the moments after birth is critical to ensuring that breastfeeding not only begins but continues successfully".

These measures include the adoption and monitoring of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (The Code) and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions; the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI); the implementation of a policy on maternity rights in line with the Convention and Recommendation of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on maternity protection; and specialized assistance for the feeding of infants and young children.

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