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Global Health
September 18, 2018

Early Initiation of Breastfeeding

JAMA. 2018;320(11):1097. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.13372

Globally, only 2 out of 5 newborns began breastfeeding within an hour of birth in 2017, leaving an estimated 78 million newborns to wait over 1 hour to be put to the breast, according to a new report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Putting newborns to the breast less than 1 hour after birth—referred to as early initiation of breastfeeding—is an important start to life. It saves lives and provides long-term health benefits. Delaying the initiation of breastfeeding can increase the risk of neonatal infection and death.