As we come to the end of Breastfeeding Week (1st-7th August) we would like to share some articles from RESULTS UK and our partners.

Breastfeeding

Child Malnutrition in Malawi: Why Breast is Best, by Judith Mtelera, a mother from Malawi

Breastfeeding is meant to be one of the most natural gifts a mother can give her child; but Judith struggled with it when her son was born three years ago. She was forced to return to work when her son was only 2 months old and as a result was no longer able to breastfeed. This led to complications with her son’s health. Judith shares a personal account of breastfeeding and stresses the need for more support for working mothers.

How to prevent 804,000 children under 5 dying by Regina Keith, Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Nutrition at University of Westminister

When we talk about breastfeeding and undernutrition it feels like a far away problem, detached from our experiences in the UK. Regina brings the realities of sub-optimal breastfeeding home. In the UK only 1% of women are exclusively breastfeeding their babies at six months – a very large drop from the 81% of women in the UK who start off breastfeeding their babies. Yet, the benefits of breastfeeding are vast – it is associated with a 3 point rise in a child’s IQ score and in later life; children who were breastfed are 12% less likely to be obese. So why is such a simple nutrition intervention, which could save lives, not being implemented worldwide? And what can we do to raise the profile of breastfeeding and nutrition to give babies the best start in life?

Enabling Mothers to Breastfeed: Key to Reducing Undernutrition, by Sabrina de Souza, Nutrition Advocacy Assistant at RESULTS UK

When Sabrina first traveled to Tanzania as a research student two years ago, she assumed that breastfeeding was the common practice among new mothers. So she was shocked to find out that less than 50% of children in Tanzania are breastfed exclusively for the first six months.

Sabrina discusses some of the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for six months in improving child nutrition and some of the barriers that are preventing mothers from breastfeeding. For instance, the critical shortage of skilled health workers means that too many mothers are not given the support to breastfeed in the critical first hour. The lack of legislation to support mothers in breastfeeding, particularly around maternity leave, forces many mothers back to work and their children onto inferior breast milk substitutes.