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International Center for Maternal and Newborn Health

Early Initiation of Breastfeeding Saves Lives

Woman attending to an infant

Optimal breastfeeding practices, including exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life has previously been shown to improve child survival.

Studies led by our researchers and others have demonstrated the importance of the timing of breastfeeding initiation for newborns. When mothers start breastfeeding their babies in the first hour or first day of life, survival through the first month of life is increased.