4. Summary of Breastfeeding Research 2013

Breastfeeding Saves Many Many Lives

Did you know….

• that 830,000 babies will not die if every baby is breastfed within the first hour of life?

• that the first milk, colostrum, is “the most potent natural immune system booster known to science”?

• that 22% of newborn deaths could be prevented if breastfed within the first hour after birth, and 16% if breastfed with the first 24 hours?

• that infants who are not breastfed are 15 times more likely to die from pneumonia and 11 times more likely to die of diarrhea than those babies exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life?

• that 1.4 million child deaths in 2008 were a result of sub-optimal breastfeeding (where babies were not exclusively breastfed and where breastfeeding did not continue into the second year of life)?  Couldn’t educators and missionaries correct this situation?

• that infants who were not breastfed at all had a 14 times greater risk of death than those infants who were exclusively breastfed?  Those who were partially breastfed had a four times greater risk of death than those exclusively breastfed.

• that 92 million infants under the age of six months (that’s 2 out of 3 babies) are either artificially fed or fed a mixture of breast milk and other foods?  New mothers need to be educated about the value of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.

• that all babies —- no matter where they live —- should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life and continued to be breastfed for at least 2 years.   It’s “the silver bullet” which saves children’s lives.

I chose to end this series by quoting research statistics from Save the Children, an organization in 120 countries.  Their report, “Superfood for Babies: How overcoming barriers to breastfeed will save children’s lives” (2013) provides excellent research.   As the report states:  “Breastfeeding is an amazing way to protect newborn babies and infants; quite simply, it saves lives.  Breast milk is a superfood for babies and a powerful, natural antidote to hunger and disease.”

Please do what you can to promote breastfeeding in our country and to those missionaries or organizations that serve the poor in other countries and to whom you give your donations.

Sheila Kippley

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