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Early initiation of breastfeeding: The best start for every newborn
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recommend that children initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life – meaning no other foods or liquids are provided, including water.
This report presents the global situation of early initiation of breastfeeding and describes trends over the past ten years. Drawing from an analysis of early initiation rates among babies delivered by skilled birth attendants, the report describes key findings and examines the factors that both help and hinder an early start to breastfeeding. The report outlines key learnings from countries where rates of early initiation have improved or deteriorated and concludes with recommendations for policy and programmatic action.