Recent papers published by The Lancet show that breastfeeding is essential for building a better world for future generations in rich and poor countries alike.
Some of the key messages from the two Series papers on breastfeeding are: -
- Children who are breastfed for longer periods have lower infectious morbidity and mortality, fewer dental malocclusions, and higher intelligence than those who are breastfed for shorter periods, or not breastfed. This inequality persists until later in life. Growing evidence also suggests that breastfeeding might protect against overweight and diabetes later in life.
- Breastfeeding benefits mothers. It can prevent breast cancer, improve birth spacing, and might reduce a woman's risk of diabetes and ovarian cancer.
- The scaling up of breastfeeding can prevent an estimated 823 000 child deaths and 20 000 breast cancer deaths every year.
- Countries can rapidly improve breastfeeding practices by scaling up known interventions, policies and programmes.
- Success in breastfeeding is not the sole responsibility of a woman – the promotion of breastfeeding is a collective societal responsibility.
Visit The Lancet to read the Breastfeeding Series