Evidence for the importance of breastfeeding from the first hour of life and beyond is strong, but too few infants and young children around the world are benefitting from appropriate breastfeeding practices, according to a recent report from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
The report outlines 3 breastfeeding practices recommended by the World Health Organization and UNICEF: Initiating breast feeding early within the first hour of life, which promotes bonding and provides infants with the essential nutrients and antibodies; exclusively breastfeeding infants nothing but breast milk for the first 6 months of life, which is considered the safest and healthiest option; and continuing breastfeeding beyond 6 months and up to 2 years of age or longer, which can provide infants with nutrients in resource poor settings.
Friedrich M. Sluggish Progress in Improving Breastfeeding Practices. JAMA. 2016;316(15):1537. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.14957