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A Mother’s Gift, for Every Child

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UNICEF. Breastfeeding: A Mother’s Gift, for Every Child. May,2018. UNICEF, 16p.

Breastfeeding, initiated within the first hour of birth, provided exclusively for six months, and continued up to two years or beyond with the provision of safe and appropriate complementary foods, is one of the most powerful practices for promoting child survival and wellbeing. Improving breastfeeding rates around the world could save the lives of more than 820,000 children under age 5 every year, the majority (87 per cent) under 6 months of age.

In addition to improving child survival and protecting against life-threatening and chronic illnesses, breastfeeding promotes healthy growth and boosts early child development. Breastfeeding supports healthy brain development, and is associated with higher performance in intelligence tests among children and adolescents across all income levels.

But breastfeeding is not just good for babies, it is good for mothers as well. Indeed, breastfeeding has been shown to protect against post-partum haemorrhage, postpartum depression, ovarian and breast cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.3 It is estimated that improving breastfeeding rates could prevent an additional 20,000 maternal deaths from breast cancer.

In short, breastfeeding is among the most effective ways to protect maternal and child health and promote healthy growth and optimal development in early childhood. Empowering and enabling women to breastfeed should be at the heart of countries’ efforts to keep every child alive and to build healthy, smart and productive societies.

Disponível Em: <https://www.unicef.org/>