The Global Breastfeeding Collective, a new initiative to increase global breastfeeding rates, is calling on countries to implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in maternity facilities, including providing breast milk for sick and vulnerable newborns. Among other measures, it wants to see links between health facilities and communities strengthened, and improved access to skilled breastfeeding counselling as part of comprehensive breastfeeding policies and programmes in health facilities.
The recommendations follow the publication of a new report by Global Breastfeeding Collective members UNICEF and the World Health Organization this week, which found that not a single country in the world fully meets recommended standards for breastfeeding. The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard found only 40 per cent of children younger than six months are breastfed exclusively and only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 per cent.
The report was released to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week (August 1 to 7), alongside a new analysis which demonstrates that an annual investment of only €4 per newborn would be required to increase the global rate of exclusive breastfeeding among children under six months to 50 per cent by 2025.