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Sunday, November 27, 2005A new report released this past week by UNICEF says that global breastfeeding rates are up 15%. In fact, between 1990 and 2000, the exclusive breastfeeding rate for children six months of age and under has actually more than tripled in some developing countries.
The developing world is fighting a frustrating battle when it comes to breastfeeding. On the one hand, in countries where communicable diseases like HIV are running wild, many mothers are being encouraged to avoid breastfeeding so that they do not pass the virus on to their children. Some studies have placed the transmission rate from breastfeeding as high as 20%.
On the other hand, a lack of clean water sources means that many babies that receive powdered formula are likely to develop diseases like disentary and cholera that also have extremely high mortality rates.
Add to the mix the risk of bad formula being imported from places like China and even formula feeding is a dangerous alternative for many of these mothers. From the Washington Times:
Were counterfeiting and piracy confined to commercial consumer products it would be bad enough but, unfortunately, it is not. Basic foods are being tinkered with as well. Thirteen children died and 200 others were seriously incapacitated in a town near Fuyang, 180 miles from Shanghai, because their parents had unknowingly fed their babies fake baby formula: a mixture of starch, sugar and dry milk powder without protein, fats and essential vitamins.
Investigation by the local media uncovered an unbelievable scandal: More than 40 companies in 10 provinces manufactured and distributed fake formula. Officials also found discarded toxic chemicals sold as table salt.
It's not a battle that can be easily won. This is why it's so essential to support organizations like the human milk banks that are springing up throughout the world. Mother's milk banks not only help provide life-sustaining milk for babies in American NICUs, they also help further research that might help solve some of these problems in the third world. That's why The Lactivist Store donates 100% of the proceeds from any human milk bank shirt to the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio.
Labels: Stats and Studies