WHO: Mothers, Please Breastfeed for Two Years

The new guidelines by the World Health Organization and UNICEF stress that breastfeeding “for at least two years improves child survival and the health of mothers and babies.”  Because breastfeeding is so important, milk substitutes  targeted for children under three are to be stopped.    Research shows that babies breastfed the second year of life live longer.  “Children who are not breastfed at 12-23 months of age are about twice as likely to die as those who are breastfed in the second year of life.”

These new guidelines stress some important benefits for mother and baby, and the guidelines can be read in three pages.  One of the advantages for continued breastfeeding is natural spacing of births.  “Continued breastfeeding delays the return to fertility, contributing to longer birth intervals in the absence of contraceptive use.”  If this is a known fact among researchers and certain secular authorities, why doesn’t the rest of the natural family planning movement promote this form of natural birth spacing?

Interestingly, children are breastfed for at least two years in 41 out of 130 countries.

Milk substitutes often replace or reduce or stop breastfeeding in young children.  Thus breast milk substitutes should not be marketed for children up to 36 months old.

The four main benefits in this 3-page paper are these: 1) reduced mortality for the child, 2) improved nutrition, 3) protection against childhood overweight and 4) improved maternal health.  The research is provided.   Specific health benefits for the breastfeeding occurring during the second year of life will be given next week.

Sheila Kippley



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