Making Every Mother and Child Count Begins with One Baby at a Time
Schaumburg, IL (March, 2005) —In celebration of World Health Day, April 7, 2005, La Leche League International (LLLI) has produced a document available in English, Spanish, French, and Italian demonstrating that breastfeeding is the cornerstone for life-long good health for mothers and children.
In light of the fact that less than 35% of all infants around the world are exclusively breastfed even for the first four months of life,i consider the following:
- Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life could save at least 1.3 million lives a year—that's about 3,500 children EACH DAY.ii
- Breastfeeding provides invaluable immunological protection from a whole host of diseases—including ear infections, allergies, intestinal disorders, meningitis, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs), diarrhea and pneumonia.iii
- The health benefits of breastfeeding extend to the mother as well—lowering her risk of
breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and postpartum hemorrhaging.iv
In recognizing the theme of making every mother and child count, the paper (available for download and distribution at www.lalecheleague.org) points out that even in an age of technological advances we need look no further than the simple, time-tested, readily available, low-cost and largely untapped resource of human milk.
Breastfeeding-one baby at a time-can make a major impact on reversing dire statistics. Even in the most optimal economic settings, artificial breastmilk substitutes significantly compromise the health and well-being of mothers and babies.
La Leche League International, a non-profit organization, has been doing its part in the effort of improving breastfeeding rates for nearly a half-century. The strength of LLLI’s approach is based on mother-to-mother support. LLLI believes that breastfeeding, though natural, is a learned behavior, best learned by being with other mothers. For information about breastfeeding or to find an LLLI Group, available in approximately sixty countries worldwide, visit the LLLI Web site at www.lalecheleague.org
iWorld Health Organization. Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. 2003
iiUNICEF. "Breastfeeding can save over 1 million lives yearly." Press Release. 2004 July 30. http://www.unicef.org/media/media_22646.html
iiiAmerican Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. Pediatrics 2005 February; 115 (2):496-506.
ivJon Ahrendsen, MD, FAAP. "Outcomes of Breastfeeding versus Formula Feeding." University of Washington. 2001. http://courses.washington.edu/nutr526/news/biospec.htm Updated June 2007 by Ginna Wall, MN, IBCLC, http://www.lalecheleague.org/docs/Outcomes_of_breastfeeding_June_2007.pdf