The potential impact of optimal breastfeeding practices is especially important in developing country situations with a high burden of disease and low access to clean water and sanitation.But non-breastfed children in industrialized countries are also at greater risk of dying - a recent study of post-neonatal mortality in the United States found a 25% increase in mortality among non-breastfed infants.In the last two decades, child mortality has decreased considerably, but close to 7 million children under five years of age still die each year, mainly from preventable causes.Of those, newborn deaths now represent nearly half of all child deaths under five years.
Breastfeeding also lowers the risk of chronic conditions later in life, such as obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, childhood asthma and childhood leukaemias.
Studies have shown that breastfed infants do better on intelligence and behaviour tests into adulthood than formula-fed babies.
Virtually every mother can breastfeed, if given appropriate support, advice and encouragement, as well as practical assistance to resolve any problems.
” Breastfed children have at least six times greater chance of survival in the early months than non-breastfed children.
An exclusively breastfed child is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child, and breastfeeding drastically reduces deaths from acute respiratory infection and diarrhoea, two major child killers (Lancet 2008).