MORE than one million babies could be saved worldwide if mothers were to start breastfeeding within the first hour of birth. That was the message the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) sent out in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week 2007.

A global synchronized breastfeeding event was held in the Penang Caring Society Complex where 60 mothers joined their counterparts in over 21 countries to breastfeed simultaneously for one minute.

A total 128 mothers in Kuala Lumpur also participated in the breastfeeding.

“Exclusive breastfeeding (where all nutrients are naturally provided from the mother) is crucial for the first six months of a baby’s life.

 

 

“Not only does this save lives, but it also reduces the risk of developing allergies later in life,” said Susan Siew, the Co-Director of WABA.

Deputy Director Liew Mun Tip said after birth, babies were normally whisked away for weighing and cleaning.

“These procedures can be delayed to give priority on feeding, which in the long run, is more important,” he said.

A surprising number of fathers were also present for the event.

Pong Yong How, a first-time father, said it was important for fathers to encourage breastfeed-ing.

“Breastfeeding is not an easy job. Newborns have to be fed over 10 times a day, ” he said.

WABA has also set up a Men’s Initiative to promote holistic family involvement.

WABA coordinator Julianna Lim Abdullah said mothers and fathers were a team when it came to raising children.

“During breastfeeding, many mothers sometimes experience anxiety and feel very alone when things don’t go smoothly.

“We find that their husbands are especially good at helping their wives relax in such situation,” she said.