A report by Save the Children states that babies lives could be saved by Breastfeeding the child within one hour of birth.
The "Power Hour" as the charity calls it is important because it will give the baby colostrums, kickstarting their immune system at this critical stage making them up to three times more likely to survive.
Colostrum is also called first milk, as it’s the first milk to come out after birth. As a newborn’s digestive system is not yet developed, the colostrums plays an important role, being concentrated with nutrients so a small amount will go a long way, with less fat and more protein, it is also packed with antibodies to boost the babies immune system, the effect of these is to give the baby passive immunity in this vital period.
It also has a laxative role to clear out the newborns bowels for the first time, important as the baby needs to rid themselves of a substance called bilirudin which is created in large quantities at birth.
While rates of breastfeeding have risen in the UK, they have not in the rest of the world. The charity calculated that if every mother breastfeed in the first hour, then 95 babies an hour would be saved mostly in the developing world, that is nearly a million a year.
Empowering mothers and better education Save the Children is key to improving the situation. They are also campaigning for the UK government to use forums such as the World Hunger Summit and the G8 summit which the UK will chair this year to promote breastfeeding. In addition they recommend that there are further health warnings on infant formula taking up to one third of the packaging.