$4.70 per newborn.
That’s how much it would cost to save the lives of 520,000 children under the age of 5 over the next decade, according to research released this week by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation.
“Breastfeeding gives babies the best possible start in life,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “Breast milk 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 research also states that an investment of $4.70 per infant would generate $300 billion in economic gains, as a result of reduced illness and health care costs and increased productivity.
“Breastfeeding is one of the most effective — and cost effective — investments nations can make in the health of their youngest members and the future health of their economies and societies,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “By failing to invest in breastfeeding, we are failing mothers and their babies — and paying a double price: in lost lives and in lost opportunity.”
Amazingly, no country in the world fully meets recommended standards for breastfeeding.
Isn’t it time to change that?
This week is World Breastfeeding Week and if there’s ever a time to act, it’s now. UNICEF’s Global Breastfeeding Collective, in collaboration with the WHO, are calling all countries to raise their game and meet these recommended standards.
Of their recommendations, one in particular stood out to me. One in particular is so simple and so accessible, that we can all carry it out and make a difference - today.
It is this:
“To encourage community networks that protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.”
Moms, they’re talking to us. They’re acknowledging our efforts and encouraging us to continue. Every latch, every night feed, every shared experience and smile of reassurance.
Let’s pledge our support to breastfeeding and to one another, by building our breastfeeding networks and showing up with support, be it in person (with cake...always bring cake) or virtually.
In light of this, please feel free to join the Global Virtual Nurse-In via Facebook, in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week. It’s free, there’s a giveaway, and all you need to do is post a breastfeeding picture to feel utterly awesome and be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Together, we really can make a difference...now let’s just image what an extra $5 per child could achieve...
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This post originally appeared on Mama Bean Parenting.