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Could Breastfeeding Save the Lives of 830,000 Babies a Year?

Breastfeeding is controversial — we all know that. It’s weird to us how much people discuss it considering it’s basically a part of nature, but everyone seems to have an opinion on the subject.

One advocacy group, Save the Children, claims that breastfeeding could save the lives of 830,000 kids worldwide. The idea is that a child that is breastfed within an hour of being born — dubbed the “power hour” — has a better chance of jumpstarting his immune system, but not all moms are given the option.

“Last year, we saw a lot of handwringing in this country over how long is too long for moms to breastfeed. But the real scandal is that many moms around the world don’t get the support they need to start breastfeeding early — or even at all. It’s a choice all moms should have,” says Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children.

So why aren’t some moms being supported in their quest to breastfeed and being denied that vital power hour feeding? There are a number of possible reasons, like cultural and community pressures, the health worker shortage, and a lack of maternity legislation, but the one that probably annoys advocates the most is aggressive marketing of formula.

To complicate things even further, some hospitals aren’t even giving newborns to moms within the power hour. Others are even going so far as to suggest to exhausted, and most likely, overwhelmed moms that formula feeding is easier, better for the baby if his sucking reflex isn’t strong, or simply bottle feed the newborn without asking the mother first.

Instead, maybe the rule should be whomever pushes a person through their body gets to decide what said person is fed? Sounds pretty reasonable to us!

We stand by one thing: Feeding your own child formula vs. breastfeeding should be the mother’s choice — and, in most cases, no one else’s.

Source: Save the Children

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02.20.2013 / 04:53 AM EDT by Jo Aaron
Related: Moms

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