A non-breastfed child is 14 times more likely to die in the first six months
than an exclusively breastfed child, according to The Lancet.
Breast milk gives a baby everything they need
and costs only what it takes to feed the mother.
"In summary, WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant's life. Thereafter, local, nutritious foods should be introduced, while breastfeeding continues for up to two years or beyond. Followup formula is therefore unnecessary. In addition, follow-up formula is not a suitable substitute for breast milk, due to its content."
WHO: Information concerning the use and marketing of follow-up formula - pdf, 165kb - 17 July 2013
See: Did you ever wonder what's in... ? Breastmilk - Formula - download pdf
Why it is important to share and act on this information
Babies who are breastfed are generally healthier and achieve optimal growth and development compared to those who are fed formula milk.
If the vast majority of babies were exclusively fed breastmilk in their first six months of life – meaning only breastmilk and no other liquids or solids, not even water – it is estimated that the lives of at least 1.2 million children would be saved every year. If children continue to be breastfed up to two years and beyond, the health and development of millions of children would be greatly improved.
Infants who are not breastfed are at an increased risk of illness that can compromise their growth and raise the risk of death or disability. Breastfed babies receive protection from illnesses through the mother's milk.
Breastfeeding is the natural and recommended way of feeding all infants, even when artificial feeding is affordable, clean water is available, and good hygienic conditions for preparing and feeding infant formula exist.
If a mother is HIV-positive, there is a risk that she can transmit HIV to her baby through breastfeeding. Counselling can help her carefully weigh the risks and make an informed decision on which feeding option is best for her baby and most manageable for her.
Almost every mother can breastfeed successfully. All mothers, particularly those who might lack the confidence to breastfeed, need the encouragement and practical support of the baby's father and their families, friends and relatives. Health workers, community workers, women's organizations and employers can also provide support.
Everyone has the right to information about the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of artificial feeding. Governments have a responsibility to provide this information. Communities as well as media and other channels of communication can play a key role in promoting breastfeeding.
|International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP) Position Statement on sponsorship of paediatricians/paediatric societies by the Baby Feeding Industry
Infant and young child feeding is central to child health and, after birth, breastfeeding is the first act of provision by a mother for her child. For most of history no other third party was required to support infant feeding other than the mother and the surrounding family. It is only since the commercial development of breast milk substitutes in the nineteenth century that health professionals have become involved in their prescription.
"In recent years, the commercialisation of infant feeding has impacted on professional practice through the development of sponsorship by the Baby Feeding Industry of medical conferences and meetings, along with gifts to health workers.
It is the view of ISSOP that this sponsorship is damaging to the reputation of paediatricians, to the health of mothers and infants, and to the status of breastfeeding and this statement explains the reasons why we believe that such sponsorship should be terminated."
>> Download ISSOP Position Statement
ISSOP is hopeful that the Position Statement will be used with paediatric societies and associations around the world to ensure that paediatricians and other health professionals avoid conflicts of interest, and protect breastfeeding as one of the most health promoting measures in the field of child health.
*The term Baby Feeding Industry refers to all commercial companies which market infant formula or other infant feeding products.
Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding videos as a playlist - YouTube
Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding video in Marathi
Breastfeeding Channel videos on HealthPhone
WHO: Promoting proper feeding for infants and young children
Facts for Life: Breastfeeding -
Why it is important •
All key messages •
Supporting information for key messages:
The Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global effort by UNICEF and the World Health Organization to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding. It aims to ensure that all maternities, whether free standing or in a hospital, become centers of breastfeeding support. Hospitals and maternity units set a powerful example for new mothers.
The "Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding" are the foundation of BFHI and summarize the maternity practices necessary to support breastfeeding. A maternity facility can be designated 'baby-friendly' when it does not accept free or low-cost breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles or teats, and has implemented these 10 specific steps to support successful breastfeeding.
World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action [WABA]
WABA is a global network of organizations and individuals who believe breastfeeding is the right of all children and mothers and who dedicate themselves to protect, promote and support this right. WABA acts on the Innocenti Declaration and works in liaison with UNICEF.
|Understanding International Policy on HIV and Breastfeeding: a comprehensive resource
"Understanding International Policy on HIV and Breastfeeding: a comprehensive resource"
is a resource which aims to clarify the confusion which has arisen during the last decade due to changing HIV and infant feeding guidance. The resource is intended for policy-makers, breastfeeding advocates, national breastfeeding committees, public health advocates, women's health activists and others working in the community.
The resource also summarises up-to-date scientific evidence as at the end of 2012. Research emerging between WHO's 2006 and 2010 guidance documents showed conclusively that maternal/infant ARV regimens during pregnancy and breastfeeding greatly reduce vertical transmission of HIV; and that exclusive and continued breastfeeding significantly improves overall HIV-free survival.
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|21 Dangers of Infant Formula
Poster by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, July 2012
download pdf 2 pp. 4.0 MB
The poster shares information on the effects that Formula companies do not want you to know about. The evidence based references and sources of information are presented on the back of the poster.
Hesperian Health Guides
Hesperian Health Guides is a nonprofit health information and health education source that develops accessible materials in many languages. Access free information in Hesperian's related to breastfeeding.
Newborn babies and breastfeeding: Available in English, Arabic, Spanish, Filipino, French, Kreyol, Khmer, Swahili, Lao, Portuguese, Urdu
Breastfeeding from A Book for Midwives: Available in English and Spanish
Breastfeeding from Where Women Have No Doctor: Available in English and Spanish
Breastfeeding and caring for your baby from A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities: Available in English and Spanish
More resources from Hesperian Health Guides
The Benefits of Breastfeeding - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
13 November, 2014