Save The Children has today launched a new report calling for more support for breastfeeding and action to prevent formula companies using damaging marketing practices.
The report, Superfood for Babies, estimates more than 800,000 deaths could be prevented each year if babies were given breastmilk in the first hour of life. It highlights four major barriers to breastfeeding:
Community and cultural pressures: In many cases a mother may not be free to make her own choice about how she feeds her baby. Education and awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding are instrumental in helping to change views.
The health worker shortage: Currently, one third of babies are born without a skilled attendant present at birth. Resources are needed to improve this.
Lack of maternity legislation: Maternity leave, pay and workplace provision for breastfeeding are all key factors needed to support mothers to continue to breastfeed.
The big business barrier: Formula milk companies use marketing practices and target healthcare workers in ways that threaten lives and violate the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. These practices can lead to infant formula being used unnecessarily and improperly, ultimately putting children at risk. Changes in company policy and stronger legislation are required to restrict these activities.
The report calls for action on all these issues, and particularly calls on the UK to use its presidency of the G8 this year to secure funding for breastfeeding programmes as part of plans to tackle malnutrition.
You can read the full report here.
Sign the petition calling for changes to formula milk marketing practices.