Breastfeeding can save over 1 million lives yearly, UNICEF reports
If more infants worldwide are given only mother's milk and no food or formula until the age of six months, at least 1.3 million lives could be saved this year, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said today.
With more than 10 million children dying annually from mainly preventable causes like diarrhoea and pneumonia, the agency said if every baby were exclusively breastfed for the first half-year of life, an estimated 3,500 lives could be saved each day.
UNICEF cited these statistics in calling for greater global commitment to support breastfeeding. ''If a child dies a preventable death it's because mothers and infants are not getting the basic support they need,'' said UNICEF chief Carol Bellamy.