Despite breastfeeding’s extraordinary benefits to both mother and child, only 43 percent of the world’s newborns are put to the breast within one hour of birth.
Breastmilk provides all the nutrients and water an infant needs for the first six months, while protecting infants against disease. Optimial breastfeeding of children under two years of age has the potential to prevent 800,000 deaths of children under five every year. Breastmilk is especially important for low birth weight babies who contribute to more than 80 percent of all newborn deaths in southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Breastfeeding within the first hour also protects the mother’s healthm reducing her risk of postpartum haemorrhage.