The report shares new analysis on breastfeeding parctices around the world.
June 5, 2018
Unicef report analyses breastfeeding practices around the world
Breastfeeding: A Mother's Gift, for Every Child, a report from Unicef, shares new analysis on breastfeeding practices around the world and sets out key recommendations for governments, the private sector, civil society and communities in low, middle and high income countries to increase breastfeeding rates.
The report highlights breastfeeding as one of the most effective ways to protect maternal and child health and promote healthy growth and optimal development in early childhood. It suggests that improving breastfeeding rates around the world could save the lives of more than 820,000 children under age five every year, the majority under six months of age, and prevent 20,000 maternal deaths from breast cancer.
Despite this, breastfeeding rates worldwide remain low, particularly in high income countries – more than one in five babies in high income countries are never breastfed, compared to one in 25 in low and middle income countries. The report's recommendations to improve breastfeeding rates include implementing the Baby Friendly Initiative in hospitals, strengthening links between health services and communities to ensure continued breastfeeding support, and developing supportive parental leave policies in the private sector.
Unicef UK's Baby Friendly Initiative has made great strides in improving standards of care for mothers and babies across the UK. For example, all hospitals in Scotland are now accredited as Baby Friendly and their breastfeeding rates have notably improved, with 43 per cent of infants now receiving breastmilk at six months, compared to 32 per cent in the 2010 Infant Feeding Survey.
The full report can be accessed here.