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Why Breast Feeding Immediately After Birth Is More Important Than Ever Before

Update Date: Feb 22, 2013 01:10 PM EST

With more processed baby milk formulas on the market and less time for mothers to recuperate, breastfeeding is becoming less and less common. However, the Save the Children campaign recently reported the importance of breastfeeding, especially right after birth, in helping infants grow up healthy. The campaign's newest report, Superfood for Babies, revealed that breastfeeding within the first hour after the baby is born can save up to 830,000 lives, which is an estimated 22 percent of newborns. 

The report provides insight as to how effective and advantageous breastfeeding can be for infants. According to the statistics, 6.9 million children below the age of five died in 2011. Although this number is lower than the years before, it can still be lowered if breastfeeding occurred more often. In a world where the baby food market is worth 25 billion, breastfeeding has been replaced for easier options that promise the same advantages. However, research shows that formula simply cannot beat a mother's natural milk. Breastfeeding within the first few hours after birth is extremely vital because the mother's body produces colostrum in the milk, which is a powerful, strong, and natural immune system booster. If infants can acquire the booster right away, they can fight off diseases and other infections a lot faster, which increases their chances of survival. The infant that receives the milk immediately is already three times more likely to be healthier than an infant who receives breast milk a day later.

Despite all of these benefits of breastfeeding, the task is actually a lot harder to accomplish than many would believe. Roughly only 6.7 percent of births happen in hospitals that have baby-friendly programs in the United States. This means that many new mothers never get help with breastfeeding, something that one would think should be natural. However, many infants have difficulty latching onto their mothers and without the extra help, many mothers may assume that breastfeeding is something their infants do not want to do. In countries outside of the United States, breastfeeding may also be inaccessible due to lack of care, environmental factors, and cultural factors.

This report reminds new mothers and hospitals the importance of breastfeeding in providing a better life for infants, and thus, more awareness regarding breastfeeding at the early hours needs to be spread. 

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