Breastfeeding is a human right, and critical for the health of both newborn and mother. Newborns benefit from early skin-to-skin contact and the antibodies in the mother’s first milk, plus factors that protect against later obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma. Mothers benefit because early breastfeeding assists in uterine shrinkage and helps prevent postpartum bleeding. In addition, frequent, exclusive, breastfeeding reduces the likelihood of an immediate new pregnancy.
Optimal breastfeeding is most advantageous when started within an hour of birth and continued exclusively for six months; research shows that it could save 800,00 children’s lives. Yet, globally, only 38 percent of infants are breastfed exclusively.
World Breastfeeding Week 2015 (August 1-7) focuses on supporting women breastfeeding at the workplace (“Let’s make it work”).
For many women, especially in the developing world, barriers to breastfeeding start in the home or even the health facility -- before returning to work in her household, community, or workplace.