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UN agencies urge states to promote breastfeeding

Author : | Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Two UN agencies have called on member countries to pass laws that promote and protect breastfeeding.

The World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the International Baby Food Action Network say only 39 countries out of 194 surveyed have laws protecting exclusive breastfeeding.

In a new report, they say babies should be fed exclusively on breast milk in the first six months of life instead of substitutes such as feeding bottles and teats.

β€œIt is encouraging to see more countries pass laws to protect and promote breastfeeding, but there are still far too many places where mothers are inundated with incorrect and biased information through advertising and unsubstantiated health claims,” said, Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, in a joint press release.

β€œThis can distort parents’ perceptions and undermine their confidence in breastfeeding, with the result that far too many children miss out on its many benefits,” he adds.

This should continue up to two years of age and beyond while babies are given complementary food.

They say temporary or long-term use of breast milk substitutes is justified for medical reasons.

However, the report warns against the inappropriate marketing of breast milk substitutes, including infant formula, feeding bottles and teats.

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