Addressing Critical Knowledge Gaps in Newborn Health

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the best way to provide newborns with the nutrients they need, and one of the most effective ways to ensure newborn health and survival. Optimal breastfeeding together with complementary feeding and adequate support for mothers and families helps prevent malnutrition and can save about one million child lives.
 
In the first hours and days after a baby's birth, the mother produces colostrum, the most natural immune booster known to science.
 
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years or beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life reduces child mortality and has health benefits that extend into adulthood.  Breastfeeding benefits not only the child but the mother and family also, as it is free of cost and reduces the risk of infection in newborns, hence a reduction in medical bills. Breast milk substitutes and animal milk not only lack essential immune-building components, they also expose the infant to an increased risk of infection and morbidity.