Midwives 'Should Check Mums Are Breastfeeding Within An Hour Of Birth'
The debate of whether breast is best has been going on for years but now the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that Midwives should check if mums are breastfeeding within an hour of birth.
Research has found that babies who are breastfed have fewer health problems when they are older.
The report by WHO and the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) states that overall women in high income countries are far less likely to breastfeed than those in poorer countries.
Britain's rates of breastfeeding are the lowest in the developed world, with just 1 percent of new mums only breastfeeding their children by the age of six months.
The authors of the report have called for closer monitoring of breastfeeding rates, saying it's important that new mums are offered immediate breastfeeding support after giving birth.
The report states: "The early initiation of breastfeeding - putting newborns to the breast within the first hour of life - is critical to newborn survival and to establishing breastfeeding over the long term."
Until this year the NHS did not record breastfeeding rates until six weeks after birth. Now it does record whether the first feed is bottle fed or breast but not whether it happens within the first hour.
Overall the study found that in wealthy nations, 21 percent of children have never been breastfed, this compared to just 4 percent in low-income countries.
Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore said: "When it comes to the start of breastfeeding, timing is everything. In many countries, it can even be a matter of life or death.
"Yet each year, millions of newborns miss out on the benefits of early breastfeeding and the reasons - all too often - are things we can change.
"Mothers simply don't receive enough support to breastfeed within those crucial minutes after birth, even from medical personnel at health facilities."
WHO director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, added: "Breastfeeding gives children the best possible start in life.
"We must urgently scale up support to mothers - be it from family members, health care workers, employers and governments, so they can give their children the start they deserve."
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