Nurturing the health and wealth of nations

The investment case for breastfeeding

The investment case for breastfeeding


Breastfeeding is one of the smartest investment a country can make to build its future prosperity.

It offers children unparalleled health and brain-building benefits. It has the power to save the lives of women and children throughout the world, and the power to help national economies grow through lower health care costs and smarter work forces. Yet many societies are failing to adequately support women to breastfeed, and as a result, the majority of the world’s children—along with a majority of the world’s countries—are not able to reap the full benefits of breastfeeding.

The case to invest in breastfeeding has never been stronger, nor the need for action clearer. In 2012, the 194 countries of the World Health Assembly (WHA) committed to a target of increasing the global prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life from the then baseline of 37 percent to at least 50 percent by 2025. But ensuring that at least half of the world’s children are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their lives should be a starting point, not an endgame. Rapid progress is possible with investments in policies and programs that better support women to breastfeed, and that ensure that more of the world’s children have the opportunity to thrive.

UNICEF, World Health Organization, 1000 Days, and Alive & Thrive
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