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Some quotes

"From the standpoint of nutritional needs, physiological maturation, and immunological safety the provision of foods other than breast milk before about four months of age is unnecessary and may also be harmful. On the other hand, many infants require some complementary feeding by about six months of age. There are a number of well known disadvantages and risks involved in too early complementary feeding, including interference with the infant's feeding behaviour, reduced breast-milk production, decreased iron absorption from breast milk, increased risk of infections and allergy in infants, and increased risk of a new pregnancy."

Source: "Infant Feeding: The Physiological Basis" Supplement to volume 67, 1989, of the Bulletin of the WHO, Edited by James Akre p.55.

"Yesterday, merely because mothers were not effectively empowered with the knowledge, were not adequately motivated and not adequately supported to breastfeed, 3 to 4,000 infants and young children died. Today 3 to 4,000 died; 30 days ago another 3 to 4,000 died."

Source: James P. Grant, Executive Director of UNICEF, in Opening Statement to the WHO/UNICEF Policymakers Meeting on "Breastfeeding in the 1990s: A Global Initiative", Florence, 30 July 1990.

"As many as 4-5 million children die every year and many more suffer nutritional consequences of diarrhoeal diseases even with all the advances in knowledge and technology during the last three decades . . . There can be no doubt in any of our minds that breastfeeding directly reduces diarrhoea mortality and morbidity in the young infant ..."

Source: Dr Hiroshi Nakajima, Director-General of WHO (Press release WHO/49, Dec. 1988)

"Promoting breastfeeding while countries undergo change will allow women to retain valuable traditional practices while adopting important western ones, such as modern forms of contraception, institutionalized births and employment outside the home. Promoting breastfeeding will also contribute to the effectiveness of family planning programs and allow those programs to work in concert with health and nutrition efforts. Projects with fertility limitation goals should therefore include breastfeeding promotion programs as complements to other services."

Source: Alan Berg and Susan Brems, "The Case for Promoting Breastfeeding in Projects to Limit Fertility". World Bank Technical Paper No. 102, 1989.

"Even under conditions of extreme malnutrition, a lactating mother will continue to produce adequate milk for the baby, if necessary consuming her own body tissue; in some developing countries women lose weight during lactation. Sadly, those women who are least prepared for the nutritional stresses of lactation are also those who have the fewest choices. As a result of poverty, they are in no position to purchase or use milk formula in any safe manner ... and failure to breastfeed can be near a death sentence for the infant... far more attention needs to be paid to the possibility of giving supplementary food to lactating mothers and to the adequate nutrition of young women around the age of puberty. Extra food for the mother can cost as little as one tenth the cost of artificial food for the baby."

Source: Lancet, 337, 703 (1991)

"Breastfeeding should be promoted in the context of health and well being of the woman."

Source: Dr Nafis Sadik, UNFPA Executive Director, in Opening Statement to the WHO/UNICEF Policymakers Meeting on "Breastfeeding in the 1990s: A Global Initiative", Florence, 30 July 1990.

The ACC/SCN is the focal point for harmonizing the policies and activities in nutrition of the United Nations system. The UN members of the SCN are FAO, IAEA, World Bank, IFAD, ILO, UN, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNRISD, UNU, WFC, WFP and WHO.

SCN News aims to provide information useful for those concerned with international nutrition. Publication of items in SCN News (and in this issue which is mainly extracts) does not imply endorsement of views given, nor necessarily the official positions taken, by the ACC/SCN and its member agencies. The status of quotes and other material is generally indicated in the text and/or sources.

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