A mother's milk is the most complete form of nutrition she can offer her newborn
World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7, 2009
PODGORICA, July 31, 2009 – On the occasion of the World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7, 2009, Dr Miodrag Radunović, Minister of Health, Ms Noala Skinner, UNICEF Montenegro Representative and Dr Veselinka Djurisic, pediatrician from the Clinical Centre of Montenegro, will hold a press conference in the Government’s Bureau for Information in Podgorica, on Friday, July 31st , at 10.00 AM.
This year, under the theme “Breastfeeding: A Vital Emergency Response. Are you ready?” the World Breastfeeding Week calls for greater support to mothers in infant feeding in order to draw their attention to the vital role that breastfeeding plays in emergencies.
Children are the most vulnerable in emergencies – child mortality can soar from 2 to 70 times higher than average due to diarrhea, respiratory illness and malnutrition. Breastfeeding is a life saving intervention and protection is greatest for the youngest infants. Even in non-emergency settings, non-breastfed babies under 2 months of age are six times more likely to die.
In Montenegro, latest research reveals that only 19% of women exclusively breastfeed their children within the first six months and only every fourth mother breastfeeds her baby within the first hour after birth.
To put that into a comparative perspective, Montenegro’s average of 19% is below the developing world average of 38% of infants under 6 months of age who are breastfed (Source: UNICEF Global databases 2007). If we are to compare this with industrialized countries, Norway, 98% of women leave the hospital breastfeeding, while 75% of them still breastfeed after 3-4 months.
Ms Skinner and Dr. Radunovic will use this opportunity to call upon the Montenegro’s women to provide their children the best start in life by breastfeeding them, as well as to urge family members and health workers to support women to breastfeed. Recent scientific studies have found that education and support for mothers significantly extends the number of months that mothers breastfeed and is especially helpful in promoting exclusive breastfeeding. Other studies have shown that counseling and support in health facilities have led to increases in the number of mothers who initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of birth. They will also announce the launch of a campaign on “The Early Years – the Opportunity of a Lifetime” that will include a special focus on the importance of breastfeeding.
World Breastfeeding Week
World Breastfeeding Week was first celebrated in 1992 and is now observed in over 120 countries by UNICEF and its partners, including the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and the World Health Organization. The aim is to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life which yields tremendous health benefits, providing critical nutrients, protection from deadly diseases such as pneumonia and fostering growth and development. Continued breastfeeding after six months, for up to two years of age or beyond, combined with safe and appropriate complementary feeding, is the optimal approach to child feeding.
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