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Breastfeeding within the first hour after birth

World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7, 2010

PODGORICA, July 30, 2010 –Under the theme “Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps. The Baby Friendly Way” World Breastfeeding Week this year commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Innocenti Declaration that called for implementation of the Ten Steps to successful breastfeeding in all maternity wards.

During these 20 years, more than 20,000 maternity wards, or about 28% of all maternity wards in the world, have fully implemented the Ten Steps and have been certified by the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). During this time, rates of exclusive breastfeeding have increased significantly.

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative includes 10 steps to encourage successful breastfeeding, such as:

  • informing all pregnant women about the benefits of breastfeeding;
  • training health care staff to help women initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth;
  • having health care staff show mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation;
  • giving newborns no food or drink other than breastmilk;
  • allowing mothers and babies to stay together 24 hours a day;
  • encouraging breastfeeding on demand;
  • giving no artificial teats or pacifiers to infants; 
  • fostering the establishment of breastfeeding support groups after discharge from hospital.

UNICEF research reveals that only every forth mother breastfeeds her baby within the first hour after birth in Montenegro. Moreover, only 19% of women exclusively breastfeed their children within the first six months. 85% of Montenegro’s parents do not know that breast milk meets all the needs of the child for nutrients.

“UNICEF and WHO recommend that mothers start breastfeeding within one hour of birth and that they exclusively breastfeed their children for the first six months. Breastmilk is the most complete form of nutrition a mother can offer her newborn and it cannot be artificially replicated.” says UNICEF Montenegro Representative Noala Skinner.

An extensive body of research has demonstrated that mothers require active support for establishing and sustaining appropriate breastfeeding practices. WHO and UNICEF launched the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative in 1992, to strengthen maternity ward practices to support breastfeeding.

In Montenegro, as a result of the joint programme of the Ministry of Health and UNICEF, 7 out of 11 maternity wards have became Baby-Friendly. These are located in Pljevlja, Bijelo Polje, Berane, Rozaje, Niksic, Bar, Ulcinj and Meljine.

“Today, around 50% of deliveries happens in 7 baby friendly maternity wards in Montenegro. The Ministry of Health will support the remaining 4 maternity wards to become baby friendly in future.” says the Minister of Health dr. Miodrag Radunovic.

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.

For additional information, please contact:

Ms. Jelena Perović, Communication Officer, UNICEF Montenegro
Phone: +382 20 224 277 ext. 3
Fax: +382 20 224 278
Cell phone: +382 69 225 315

Ms. Lorena Vlahovic, PR, Ministry of Health
Phone: +382 20 482 489
Fax: +382 20 482 341
Cell phone: +382 67 877 807




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