Half of Babies Breastfed Until Six Months

Half of Babies Breastfed Until Six MonthsHalf of Babies Breastfed Until Six Months

More than five in 10 Iranian mothers (or 53%) breastfeed their babies until six months as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).  Also 80% of mothers continue to breastfeed their babies till they are one year old.

According to Global Nutrition Targets 2025 set by the WHO, by the year 2025 the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life should be increased to at least 50% in all member states and Iran has reached the target, Khabaronline  website reported.

Other nutrition targets include 40% reduction in number of under-five stunted children, 50% reduction in anemia in women of reproductive age, 30% reduction in low birth weight, no increase in childhood overweight, and reducing and maintaining childhood acute malnutrition to less than 5%.

WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding of babies up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods for up to two years.

“Earlier it was assumed that the number of babies who are breastfed is  less in developing countries, while our recent study showed that the assumption is wrong,” said Prof Cesar G Victora from the University of Pelotas in Brazil, who is author of an international study ‘Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect’.

The study published last year collected data from 164 countries. The results indicated that only one-fifth of babies are breastfed till the age of 12 months in high income countries, while the rate was higher in lower income and poor countries (in these countries one-third of babies are breastfed till the age of one).

The rate of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life was 0.5% in UK, 2% in Ireland, and 3% in Denmark. The rate was 60% in Japan, 35% in Norway, 34% in Finland, and 27% in US.

“Our meta-analyses indicate protection against child infections and malocclusion, increases in intelligence, and probable reductions in overweight and diabetes. We did not find associations with allergic disorders such as asthma or with blood pressure or cholesterol. For nursing women, breastfeeding gave protection against breast cancer and it improved birth spacing, and it might also protect against ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes,” Victora said.

According to the study, the scaling up of breastfeeding to a near universal level could prevent 823,000 annual deaths in children younger than 5 years and 20,000 annual deaths from breast cancer. Epidemiological and biological findings from the past decade expand on the known benefits of breastfeeding for women and children, whether they are rich or poor.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints