The World Health Organisation (WHO) is now encouraging mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies for two years instead of the six months minimum period that has been promoted in the recent past.
WHO says breastfeeding babies for the first two years would save the lives of more than 820, 000 children under the age of five years, annually. WHO and UNICEF say breastfeeding is vital to a child’s lifelong health, and reduces costs for health facilities, families, and governments.
Issuing the new ten-step guidance to increase support for breastfeeding in health facilities that provide maternity and newborn services Friday, the two organisations said the guidance is to encourage new mothers to breastfeed and informs health workers how best to support breastfeeding.
“Breastfeeding saves lives. Its benefits help keep babies healthy in their first days and last will into adulthood,” said the UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore.