CC BY 4.0 · Journal of Health and Allied Sciences NU 2023; 13(03): 297-300
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1755542
Review Article

Breastfeeding—An Essential Newborn Nutrient

Sabitha Nayak
1   Nitte (Deemed to be University) Usha Institute of Nursing Sciences, Mangaluru, Karnataka, India
Philomena Fernandes
1   Nitte (Deemed to be University) Usha Institute of Nursing Sciences, Mangaluru, Karnataka, India
› Author Affiliations


Breastfeeding is an art/skill. Globally, it is gaining a steady prominence as World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) have specified exclusive breastfeeding for the initial half year. They have likewise offered significance to initiation of breastfeeding within half an hour to 1 hour after birth that has a critical effect on the developing infant as the colostrum in the breast milk supports immunity in the developing baby and newborn child, following birth helps in invigorating the posterior pituitary, release of Oxytocin and thus helps in uterine contraction and forestalls postpartum hemorrhage in postnatal mothers.

Analysis of data from 123 countries shows that babies are breastfed at some point in their lives. However, the rate shifts between low-income, middle-income and high-income countries. It is evaluated that in low- and middle-income countries, approximately 4% of children are never breastfed, while in high-income countries it is 21%. As indicated by the WHO, in excess of 20 million infants are born weighing under 2.5 kg and unfortunately developing nations are facing the brunt of this.

One of the WHO Global Targets 2025 is to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months up to at least 50% to improve maternal, infant, and young child nutrition. Unfortunately, only 38% of infants aged 0 to 6 months are exclusively breastfed globally.

Numerous factors contribute to produce a positive situation for breastfeeding. Within the health care organizations, mothers need information and support to breastfeed immediately after birth and beyond. Indeed, studies have discovered that implementation of breastfeeding interventions within the health care organizations and community can possibly expand the rates by 2.5 times.

In India, government has implemented 6 months maternity leave that benefit many working mothers to exclusive breast feed their newborns.

Breastfed children perform better intelligence tests, and are less likely to be overweight and diabetic in later life. If the breastfeeding rate improves in compared to the current rates, then additional 20,000 deaths can be prevented due to breast and ovarian cancer. Studies have found that exclusive breastfeeding can have influence on development of milestones. An ability that a child must achieve by a certain age is developmental milestone. The milestones can be physical, social, emotional, cognitive and communication skills like walking, sharing, expressing emotions, identifying familiar sounds, and talking.·

Publication History

Article published online:
10 October 2022

© 2022. The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, permitting unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction so long as the original work is properly cited. (

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