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Facts for Life


Why it is important to share and act on this information


Why it is important - All key messages - Resources

Babies who are breastfed are generally healthier and achieve optimal growth and development compared to those who are fed formula milk.

If the vast majority of babies were exclusively fed breastmilk in their first six months of life – meaning only breastmilk and no other liquids or solids, not even water – it is estimated that the lives of at least 1.2 million children would be saved every year. If children continue to be breastfed up to two years and beyond, the health and development of millions of children would be greatly improved.

Infants who are not breastfed are at an increased risk of illness that can compromise their growth and raise the risk of death or disability. Breastfed babies receive protection from illnesses through the mother's milk.

Breastfeeding is the natural and recommended way of feeding all infants, even when artificial feeding is affordable, clean water is available, and good hygienic conditions for preparing and feeding infant formula exist.

If a mother is HIV-positive, there is a risk that she can transmit HIV to her baby through breastfeeding. Counselling can help her carefully weigh the risks and make an informed decision on which feeding option is best for her baby and most manageable for her.

Almost every mother can breastfeed successfully. All mothers, particularly those who might lack the confidence to breastfeed, need the encouragement and practical support of the baby's father and their families, friends and relatives. Health workers, community workers, women's organizations and employers can also provide support.

Everyone has the right to information about the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of artificial feeding. Governments have a responsibility to provide this information. Communities as well as media and other channels of communication can play a key role in promoting breastfeeding.

The Lancet Breastfeeding SeriesThe Lancet Breastfeeding Series - January 28, 2016

With a substantial development of research and findings for breastfeeding over the past three decades, we are now able to expand on the health benefits for both women and children across the globe. The two papers in this Series will describe past and current global trends of breastfeeding, its short and long-term health consequences for the mother and child, the impact of investment in breastfeeding, and the determinants of breastfeeding and the effectiveness of promotion interventions.

New Research Shows That Breastfeeding Matters Everywhere and Could Save Millions of Lives and Dollars
"Political commitment and investment in breastfeeding by governments, donors, employers and civil society is urgently needed to ensure the health of women and children and to shape a more sustainable future for all. UNICEF and the World Health Organization, in partnership with close to 20 organizations, are leading the charge to mobilize global action to raise political and financial investment to support breastfeeding. Together, we are working to remove barriers to breastfeeding and to give women the tools they need to make informed decisions to ensure their health and the health of their children for generations come."
Werner Schultink, Chief of Nutrition at UNICEF

Breastfeeding saves lives and it’s time for action

Infant Feeding Support for Refugee ChildrenInfant Feeding Support for Refugee Children – #SafelyFed   Infant Feeding Support for Refugee Children

Infant Feeding Support for Refugee Children is a group of mothers and other interested people, working as volunteers, to gather and co-ordinate support for the infants (newborns to age two years old and beyond) fleeing war and thus caught in the refugee crisis.  As a group we support the WHO recommendations on Infant Feeding whereby milk, preferably mother’s milk, should be the only food given for the first six months and milk feed should be offered freely for a minimum of two years.

HealthPhone™ Essentials: Educational Videos for Basic Health Knowledge in Hindi

HealthPhone Essentials: Educational Videos for Basic Health Knowledge

Early and Exclusive Breastfeeding
Hand Washing with Soap and Water
Use of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and Zinc
Routine Immunization
Initiation of Breastfeeding by Breast Crawl

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