World Fit For Children Goal: To protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and continued breastfeeding with safe, appropriate and adequate feeding up to 2 years of age and beyond
Optimal breastfeeding of children under two years of age has the greatest potential for a positive impact on child survival of all preventive interventions.
Current breastfeeding patterns have improved significantly in some countries over the past 10 years. South Asia has the highest rates of exclusive breastfeeding at 44 per cent among infants 0–5 months old, while Central and Eastern Europe/ Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) has the lowest at 20 per cent.
Nevertheless, CEE/CIS countries made significant improvements. Rates doubled from 10 per cent to 20 per cent between 1996 and 2006. Exclusive breastfeeding rates in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia and the Pacific also increased during this period, from 24 per cent to 32 per cent and from 27 per cent to 32 per cent respectively. Rates remained roughly constant in South Asia and declined in the Middle East and North Africa region.