Breastfeeding can save lives of one million children each year, says UNICEFListen /
Governments around the world are being urged by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) to develop strong policies to promote breastfeeding.
On the 20th anniversary of World Breastfeeding Week, from 1 to 7 August, UNICEF says that breastfeeding could prevent the deaths of around one million children under five in the developing world each year.
Dianne Penn reports.
According to UNICEF, there is compelling evidence that exclusive breastfeeding prevents diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia that kill millions of children every year.
Yet, the agency adds, global rates of breastfeeding have remained relatively stagnant in the developing world, growing from 32 per cent in 1995 to 39 per cent in 2010.
It says one of the roadblocks to improving breastfeeding rates is widespread and unethical marketing by makers of breast milk substitutes.
UNICEF also blames poor national policies that don't support maternity leave and a lack of understanding of the risks of not breastfeeding.
Dianne Penn, United Nations.