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The original superfood

21 September 2018, Research and Reports

A mum’s breastmilk is the perfect protection against illness for newborn babies

The benefits of breastfeeding, for both mothers and babies, are extensively documented. It’s so important we continue to encourage mothers everywhere to take advantage of their natural source of goodness – wherever they are and whenever they can. And that governments and corporations recognise the potential harm that aggressive marketing of breast-milk substitutes can bring to families, infants and young children around the world. You can read more about the dangerous influence of the booming milk-formula industry here

Here are five reasons why the encouragement of breastfeeding is so important in the work we do. 

Liquid gold

Liquid gold

Colostrum, otherwise known as ‘liquid gold’, is a richer, creamier form of milk produced by mothers immediately after giving birth. It should be a baby’s first food when possible as it’s packed with crucial nutrients, giving a baby’s immune system a massive boost to protect them from illness and disease in their first days of life when they are most vulnerable.
The very first hours

The very first hours

Although around 80% of newborns globally are breastfed, only around half receive breastmilk in their very first hours. Breastfeeding within an hour of birth protects newborns from infection and is powerful ammunition in the fight to reduce newborn mortality. That’s why we train health workers to work closely with mothers and encourage early breastfeeding as part of their essential newborn care. 


Support from families

Support from families

Save the Children works with the immediate family of new mothers and their broader community to ensure they have a support network to give them the encouragement and practical help to continue breastfeeding up to, and beyond the first two years. Our teams also work with mothers and their families to help make sure they are introducing healthy, nutritious complementary foods at the right time, in the right way and in the right amounts as they grow.


Don

Don't push it

It’s critical we keep an eye on how breastmilk substitutes are promoted, donated and distributed in the countries where we work and highlight violations by formula companies of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Our 2018 Don’t Push It report investigates the practices of the biggest producers of breastmilk substitutes and makes recommendations to organisations, investors and governments for the long-term protection of breastfeeding and the health of babies around the world. 
Care in a crisis

Care in a crisis

An emergency setting is precisely the time when breastfeeding is critical to the survival of children. Contaminated water and a lack of proper sanitation facilities present dangerous risks to babies. Breastfeeding can help mothers protect their babies from illnesses like diarrhoea and pneumonia, so, where possible, we encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies at times when then they might be particularly vulnerable as well as providing spaces where they can do this safely and with privacy. 

See how your support is helping make sure these kids are getting the food they need to thrive.


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