Exclusive breastfeeding knowledge: a literature review background

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UNICEF UK recommends breastfeeding starts within the first hour after birth, followed by exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for the first six months, and that this advice should be supported by public health policies in both developed and developing countries, so that infants achieve optimal nourishment, growth, development and health (Renfrew et al 2012). There is a wealth of evidence on the benefits of EBF for both children and mothers (Heinig & Dewey 1996,Heinig 2001,Oddy 2001,Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer 2002). For example, infants exclusively breastfed for the first six months or longer experience lower morbidity and show no growth deficits compared to those who are mixed fed (Kramer & Kakuma 2002). Mothers who breastfeed exclusively tend to lose weight slightly faster than those who do not (Dewey et al 1993), they may also experience prolonged lactational amenorrhea, which creates temporary postnatal infertility resulting in lower risk of another immediate pregnancy (Kramer & Kakuma 2012).

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