Babies who are breastfed have fewer illnesses and are better nourished than those who are fed other drinks and foods. If all babies were fed only breastmilk for the first six months of life, the lives of an estimated 1.5 million infants would be saved every year and the health and development of millions of others would be greatly improved.

Using breastmilk substitutes, such as infant formula or animal’s milk, can be a threat to infants’ health. This is particularly the case if parents cannot afford sufficient substitutes, which are quite expensive, or do not always have clean water with which to mix them.

Almost every mother can breastfeed successfully. Those who might lack the confidence to breastfeed need the encouragement and practical support of the baby’s father and their family, friends and relatives. Health workers, women’s organizations, the mass media and employers can also provide support.

Everyone should have access to information about the benefits of breastfeeding and it is the duty of every government to provide this information.

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