Nutrition

First Food First

WABA/Nurhayati-natasha

Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, 1-7 August 2007, by helping ensure that every newborn receives colostrum, the 'very first food'.

WHO universally recommends colostrum, a mother's first milk or the 'very first food', as the perfect food for every newborn. The sticky, yellowish substance produced by the mother soon after birth is ideal for the newborn - in composition, in quantity and rich in antibodies. Colostrum not only nourishes, it also protects. It is just what the baby needs during its first few days. Colostrum needs to start in the first hour.

Yet, statistics from around the world reveal that colostrum is frequently discarded. There is widespread lack of awareness of its qualities and its key role in contributing to the health and growth of the newborn. Feeding water or other liquids instead of colostrum deprives the child of a good start in life. The WHO Child Growth Standards show how all children should grow, and babies fed colostrum within the first hour measure up well against these Standards.

There are 170 million underweight children around the world, 3 million of whom die each year as a result of being underweight. WHO recommends that all children be exclusively breastfed for 6 months. Feeding colostrum in the first hour is the first step. It is imperative that every child receives colostrum to get ahead in the race against malnutrition.

Every newborn must receive the very first food first!

WHO Nutrition urges everyone to inform themselves, spread the knowledge and support mothers to feed their babies colostrum. These simple actions will go a long way in helping to ensure that every newborn receives the very best start in life - the very first food first, in the first hour of life!

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