by Rajiv Bahl for NEOVITA Study Group
Lancet Glob Health 2016; 4: e266–75
Although the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for child health and survival, particularly in the post-neonatal period, are established, the independent beneficial effect of early breastfeeding initiation remains unclear. The findings of this study emphasise the crucial importance of prioritising the promotion of early breastfeeding initiation both to mothers and to the health workers who assist and support them. Although this promotion is already part of WHO recommendations for newborn care, it is not a universal practice with only half of newborn babies in the world being breastfed in the first hour of life.