Infant and young child feeding is central to child health and, after birth, breastfeeding is the first act of provision by a mother for her child. For most of history no other third party was required to support infant feeding other than the mother and the surrounding family. It is only since the commercial development of breast milk substitutes in the nineteenth century that health professionals have become involved in their prescription.
"In recent years, the commercialisation of infant feeding has impacted on professional practice through the development of sponsorship by the Baby Feeding Industry of medical conferences and meetings, along with gifts to health workers.
It is the view of ISSOP that this sponsorship is damaging to the reputation of paediatricians, to the health of mothers and infants, and to the status of breastfeeding and this statement explains the reasons why we believe that such sponsorship should be terminated."
ISSOP is hopeful that the Position Statement will be used with paediatric societies and associations around the world to ensure that paediatricians and other health professionals avoid conflicts of interest, and protect breastfeeding as one of the most health promoting measures in the field of child health.
*The term Baby Feeding Industry refers to all commercial companies which market infant formula or other infant feeding products.
Breastfeeding: Impact on child survival and global situation
Optimal breastfeeding of infants under two years of age has the greatest potential impact on child survival of all preventive interventions, with the potential to prevent over 800,000 deaths (13 per cent of all deaths) in children under five in the developing world (Lancet 2013). » more from UNICEF
In summary, WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant's life. Thereafter, local, nutritious foods should be introduced, while breastfeeding continues for up to two years or beyond. Followup formula is therefore unnecessary. In addition, follow-up formula is not a suitable substitute for breast milk, due to its content.
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