Celebrate Breastfeeding Awareness

Starting from the very first hour of an infant’s life, breastfeeding can have a significant impact on the baby’s health and development. A mother can receive health benefits as well, several of which are associated with a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancers for nursing mothers later in life. But breastfeeding isn’t easy for everyone, particularly in emergencies.  In these times of difficulty, mothers need access to support. Skilled support as well as basic interventions that support mothers and their youngest children have a direct impact on her child's survival. The mothers of the world need our help to encourage and support their desire to feed their babies.

About Breastfeeding

You can help reduce the world’s still-too-high infant mortality rate by supporting the work we do every day.

  • Undernutrition is estimated to be associated with 2.7 million child deaths annually or 45% of all child deaths. 1
  • Research estimates that increasing breastfeeding rates has the potential to save the lives of over 820,000 children under 5 years old each year. 2
  • Breast-milk is an important source of energy and nutrients in children aged 6–23 months. 3
  • Only 39% of children less than six months of age in the developing world are exclusively breastfed. 4
  • Nearly half of diarrhea episodes and one-third of respiratory infections are due to inadequate breastfeeding practices. 5
  • An estimated 20,000 maternal deaths from breast cancer could be prevented each year by improving rates of breastfeeding. 6

Inspiring Stories From Moms and Dads:

The Mother Without Access to Skilled Breastfeeding Support
Sakariye’s* mum, Amran*, remembers the first time her son was seriously ill. “He was 15 days old. First, he had problems breathing, then he got measles,” she explained. Amran did her best to care for Sakariye. She tried to get him medicine. She tried to breastfeed him, but he continued to struggle.

A baby’s health is closely linked to its mother’s and so it was for Sakariye and Amran. When drought caused food shortages in Somalia where the family lives, Amran did what any parent would do. She put her young children first. Meet Sakariye.

The Father Working To Redefine Gender Roles
Fathers play an important role by assisting mothers with Kangaroo Mother Care, a technique where skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding offer newborn babies warmth and nutrition during the most critical stage – the first 24 hours. However, in many cultures, fathers are reluctant to participate in perceived maternal techniques. Here is the story of one such father and how he is working to redefine gender roles for Kenyan fathers. Meet William.

*Name has been changed to protect identity

Sources:
WHO
2 The Lancet
WHO
UNICEF
UNICEF
WHO

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