Kicking off World Breastfeeding Week, the United Nations today stressed that although breastfeeding has cognitive and health benefits for infants and mothers, investment shortcomings impede the practice.
He added that breastmilk works like a baby's first vaccine, protecting infants from potentially deadly diseases and giving them all the nourishment they need to survive and thrive.
The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard, a new report by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and WHO in collaboration with the Global Breastfeeding Collective – an initiative launched today that aims to increase global breastfeeding rates – points out that breastfeeding not only helps prevent diarrhoea and pneumonia, two major causes of death in infants, it also helps reduce mothers' risk of ovarian and breast cancer, two leading causes of death among women.
Yet, the scorecard, which evaluated 194 nations, reveals that no country in the world fully meets recommended breastfeeding standards.
It found that only 40 per cent of children younger than six months are given nothing but breastmilk and only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 per cent.