A World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) report issued in February states, “One million babies can be saved each year if they begin breastfeeding within one hour of birth.” According to Mothering.com, “if all mothers began breastfeeding within the first hour it would save one million of the four million newborn deaths. This study from rural Ghana, based on 10,947 breastfed singleton infants, has shown that initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of birth reduced the infants’ risk of death. It also demonstrated a marked increase in risk with increasing delay in initiation. Overall late initiation (after day one) was associated with a 2.4-fold increase in risk. Giving pre-lacteal feeds, i.e. something other than mother’s milk before beginning to breastfeed, also increased the risk of neonatal mortality. The study conducted on babies who survived day one clearly showed that 41% of all babies who die during 2 to 28 days of life can be saved by this simple intervention: beginning breastfeeding within one hour of birth. When the deaths of day one were included, it showed 22% of all neonatal (0-28 days) deaths could be reduced. In India, for example, this means 250,000 neonates can be saved from death annually by just this one act. Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of birth is the primary and most vital step towards reducing infant and under-five mortality, by reducing the overwhelmingly high neonatal mortality rate.”
My breastfeeding days are over, which I solemnly miss. There is nothing sweeter than holding your child to your breast while they suckle the sustenance of life. For some children, they latch on immediately, still others struggle with the process. I recommended that all new mothers read The Nursing Mother’s Companion,which was required reading by my midwives. The Nursing Mother’s Companionprovides all the information you will need to deal with breastfeeding issues that may arise, as well as an appendix on drug safety while breastfeeding. The Nursing Mother’s Companionmakes a great gift for a new mother! Of course, the La Leche League International is another great breastfeeding resource.