Need to do as much as possible to support breastfeeding says RCM on new WHO report

By RCM on 31 July 2018 Breastfeeding Infant Feeding

Today the World Health Organisation and UNICEF have published a report on breastfeeding in the first hour after birth. It says that an estimated 78 million babies – or three in five – are not breastfed within the first hour of life, putting them at higher risk of death and disease and making them less likely to continue breastfeeding.

Commenting on the report Clare Livingstone, Professional Policy Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “The evidence on the benefits of breastfeeding is incredibly strong and we should all be doing as much as we possibly can to support women to breastfeed. This is particularly important for areas of the world where women many not have easy access to healthcare services or clean water. It is without a doubt the best way to give a baby the healthiest possible start in life, and as this report shows, starting it as soon as possible is incredibly important and can even be lifesaving.

“We also recognise there are sometimes legitimate reasons making it impossible to initiate breastfeeding within the first hour after birth, as when a mother or baby requires medical intervention, and these mothers may need more support.

“This is a timely report that should be read and taken notice of by global leaders, politicians and policy makers if they are serious about the health and wellbeing of their population.”

More information on the WHO/UNICEF report can be read at

Read The Royal College of Midwives Position Statement on Infant Feeding published in June 2018.

Note to editors

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