Breastfeeding is the single most effective intervention for preventing infant death and, therefore, for achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for infant survival. It is also important for the achievement of the MDG related to the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. Breastfeeding within the first hour of life is particularly important in preventing neonatal mortality, an increasingly large proportion of overall infant mortality in the Region of the Americas.
In short, breastfeeding is a shield that protects infants and young children anywhere and all the time. That is even more so during emergencies. Breastfeeding in emergency situations is particularly important because the risks of illness are higher and access to food can be limited. That is why there is a need to restrain donations of infant formula during emergencies, which may be guided by noble intentions but have an overall negative impact for infants and young children needing to be breastfed.
Likewise, PAHO has joined the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and the countries in the Region to emphasize the importance of creating a supportive breastfeeding environment, which many times is undermined by common misperceptions as well as by inappropriate marketing influences.
Due to the importance of this subject for the well-being of our infants and young children, I invite you to take a look at the corresponding press release (http://new.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1667&Itemid=229)
Links of Interest
- PAHO VIDEO: Semana Mundial de la Lactancia Materna (in Spanish)
- Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (in Spanish)
- Publication: Alimentación y nutrición del Niño Pequeño: Reunión subregional sudamérica (in Spanish)
- World Breastfeeding Week 2009
- Guiding principles for complementary feeding of the breastfed child
- Monitoring child development in the IMCI Context
- Nutrition, Health, and Child Development
Mirta Roses Periago