Media centre

Media centre - Introduction

Latest press releases

UNICEF press releases 2013

UNICEF press releases 2012

UNICEF press releases 2011

UNICEF press releases 2010

UNICEF press releases 2009

UNICEF Press Releases 2007/2008

Publications

Surveys

Vacancies & tenders

Contact Information for Journalists

 

Make Breastfeeding easier for mothers, says UNICEF

NEW YORK, 1 August 2012 – On the 20th anniversary of World Breastfeeding Week, UNICEF says strong national policies supporting breastfeeding could prevent the deaths of around 1 million children under five in the developing world each year.

Despite compelling evidence that exclusive breastfeeding prevents diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia that kill millions of children every year, global rates of breastfeeding have remained relatively stagnant in the developing world, growing from 32 per cent in 1995 to 39 per cent in 2010. 

“If breastfeeding were promoted more effectively and women were protected from aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes, we would see more children survive and thrive, with lower rates of disease and lower rates of malnutrition and stunting,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.  

Some of the roadblocks to improving breastfeeding rates are widespread and unethical marketing by makers of breast milk substitutes, poor national policies that do not support maternity leave, and a lack of understanding of the risks of not breastfeeding.

In June, world leaders meeting in Washington, D.C., pledged as part of the “Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed” movement to work toward ending preventable child deaths. World Breastfeeding Week provides an opportunity to restate the critical role of breastfeeding in reducing child mortality.

The 2008 Lancet Nutrition Series highlighted the remarkable fact that a non-breastfed child is 14 times more likely to die in the first six months than an exclusively breastfed child. Breast milk meets a baby's complete nutritional requirements and is one of the best values among investments in child survival as the primary cost is the mother’s nutrition.

“Breastfeeding needs to be valued as a benefit which is not only good for babies, mothers, and families, but also as a saving for governments in the long run,” said Mr. Lake.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

For further information, please contact:

Sarah Crowe, UNICEF Spokesperson
Tel + 1 212 326 7206
Mobile: + 1 646 209 1590
Email: scrowe@unicef.org Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Geneva
Tel + 41 22 909 5713
Mobile +41 79 303 0541
Email: pmccormick@unicef.org Peter Smerdon, UNICEF New York
Tel: + 1 212 303 7984
Mobile +1 917 213 5188
Email: psmerdon@unicef.org

 

 
Search:

 Email this article

unite for children