Breastfeeding provides numerous lifesaving benefits, according to UNICEF, which cited evidence from The Lancet,a new series of papers that revealed how improved breastfeeding practices could save the lives of more than 820,000 children in one year, with 9 out of 10 of them being under 6-months of age.
Besides, increased breastfeeding can avert about half of diarrhoea cases and a third of breathing infections – the two major reasons of death among kids under 5 years of age.
The Lancet papers also revealed that when every year a mother breastfeeds, her chances of developing invasive breast cancer get reduced by almost 6%. Presently, increased breastfeeding is already helping in avoiding nearly 20,000 deaths from breast cancer every year, according to statistics.
In fact, these numbers could rise twofold with the better breastfeeding practices. Moreover, breastfeeding for a prolonged period can help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer as well.
UNICEF concluded by saying that keeping in mind its multiple health benefits for children and their mothers as well as possible economic benefits, governments should work actively to institute programs and policies to support, protect and promote breastfeeding.
This is specifically important for working mothers because early return to the workplace tends to reduce the chances of a mother breastfeeding her baby; and in nearly 60% of nations of the world, maternity leaves don’t reach the ILO (International Labour Organisation) suggested minimum of 98 days.
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