Save the Children released a brand-new breastfeeding report, Superfood for Babies: How Overcoming Barriers Will Save Children’s Lives that says 830,000 babies’ lives can be saved worldwide if they are breastfed within the critical first hour after birth. In the first hour after birth babies benefit from drinking colostrum, the most effective and potent natural immune system boosting substance on the planet. Babies who are breastfed within the very first hour after birth are three times more likely to survive than if they are breastfed even one day after birth.
Breastfeeding is critical to the health of children in the world’s most income poor countries. More importantly, immediate breastfeeding is unquestionably crucial to a newborn’s survival. In fact, an estimated 22 percent of newborn deaths can be prevented in breastfeeding begins within an hour or birth. The report also touches on four primary barriers that prevent more mothers from breastfeeding in developing countries that Carolyn Miles, the President and CEO of Save the Children, outlined in a recent post published here on Impatient Optimists.
While a lion share of the report falls squarely on developing countries Superfood for Babies also looks at barriers mothers in developed countries face when they are attempting to breastfeed their children such as a lack of education and support after delivering their babies. According to Save the Children, only 6.7 percent of US births take place in baby-friendly hospitals that meet international guidelines from UNICEF and WHO for providing breastfeeding support.
Immediate breastfeeding is unquestionably crucial to a newborn’s survival.
Recently 24 mom bloggers collectively shared their personal breastfeeding stories every hour for 24 hours to highlight and spread the word about Save the Children’s new Superfood for Babies report. Mothers from the United States, Brazil, Nigeria, the Philippines and Indonesia shared their stories on their blog as well as across social media. You can read all of the posts on a special microsite created for the online event.
One of the perpetual themes throughout the moms’ posts was many of them did not receive the support they needed to successfully breastfeed, a barrier that Save the Children highlights in its report. For example, one Massachusetts mom wrote,
“As I sat in the nursery trying to breastfeed for the first time, a nurse stood over me. My daughter had trouble latching on, in turn, causing me frustration and tension between the nurse and I. Breastfeeding was a lot more difficult than I expected. Things didn’t get better.”
Another mom wrote,
“The lactation consultant at the hospital wasn’t all that helpful and the nurses made me feel like I was going to starve him to death if I didn’t feed him. So we gave him a bottle. I tried to breastfeed a few more times to no avail. I felt a little defeated, but I wasn’t devastated. I didn’t really know any of the benefits of breastfeeding.”
Luckily for her second child she had much greater luck.
All of the moms’ experiences weren’t negative, however. One mom wrote that she had an extremely supportive pediatrician who encouraged her to breastfeed even through early latching difficulty.
“My first weighed in at a healthy 8.5 pounds then promptly lost over a pound when she refused to learn how to nurse. She was a struggle for a couple months (she finally regained birth weight at two months of age). I am very glad I had a supportive pediatrician who was willing to continue to support breastfeeding instead of supplementing.”
There were many others who never experienced problems breastfeeding, but realized so many mothers don’t get the support they need to breastfeed successfully.
You can read all of the posts at advocatingforthefirsthour.tumblr.com and follow the conversation at #FirstHour.