Infographic: Which countries have the lowest breastfeeding rates? | Infographic News

World Breastfeeding Week is well known from August 1 to 7 yearly. Coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Motion (WABA), it highlights the significance of breastfeeding in tackling malnutrition, understanding inequality and the challenges moms face throughout the globe.

Based on the United Nations Youngsters’s Fund (UNICEF), lower than half of all newborns all over the world (44 %) are solely breastfed throughout the first 5 months of their lives.

Nonetheless, regardless of the quite a few well being advantages for each infants and moms, breastfeeding isn’t all the time straightforward. Within the following infographic sequence, Al Jazeera appears at why breast milk is vital and the place breastfeeding is most prevalent.

Why is breast milk vital?

Breast milk is filled with important vitamins, proteins, nutritional vitamins, minerals and antibodies uniquely tailored to a child’s wants.

Consisting of about 87 % water, breast milk retains the toddler hydrated, manages physique temperature, lubricates joints, and protects organs. It additionally consists of roughly 7 % lactose – a sugar that gives the infant with vitality, 4 % fat (lipids) and the remaining 2 % proteins and different bioactive parts, which can’t be present in system.


The manufacturing of milk by the mammary glands is stimulated by hormones. Because the being pregnant involves time period, a girl’s physique begins to supply the primary breast milk, referred to as colostrum, within the preliminary days after delivery.

Colostrum is named “liquid gold” due to its color and advantages to newborns: it’s filled with protein, nutritional vitamins, minerals and immunoglobulins (antibodies) which can be important to the expansion and safety of a new child.


Based on the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC), breastfeeding has a number of well being advantages for infants and moms and will help defend them from diseases and ailments.

For infants, breastfeeding can scale back the chance of:

  • Bronchial asthma
  • Weight problems
  • Sort 1 diabetes
  • Extreme decrease respiratory illness
  • Ear infections
  • Sudden toddler dying syndrome (SIDS)
  • Gastrointestinal infections

For moms, breastfeeding can decrease the chance of:

  • Hypertension
  • Sort 2 diabetes
  • Ovarian most cancers
  • Breast most cancers


Widespread issues breastfeeding moms face 

Breastfeeding shouldn’t be all the time an choice.

Amna Riaz is a younger mom from Karachi, Pakistan who had a difficult being pregnant and now has a one-year-old daughter. Amna has Hashimoto’s illness, an autoimmune dysfunction affecting the thyroid gland. She is clinically overweight and had irregular menstruation cycles. For her, even the being pregnant was a miracle.

“I misplaced 12kg (26.4 kilos) throughout my being pregnant and ended up giving delivery through caesarean part as a result of I used to be surviving through drips, not strong meals, with compromised kidneys,” she mentioned.

With some assist post-delivery, lactation counselling and household assist, Amna’s milk provide was good.

“After one month of wonderful [feeding] … I needed to undergo one other complete new problem to feed my child,” she mentioned.

After being informed her child wasn’t rising correctly, Amna needed to complement her breast milk with a lactose-free system (the infant was recognized as lactose-intolerant). Her personal provide wasn’t sufficient.

“She wasn’t gaining weight in any respect [with] the system milk … [combined] with breast milk,” she says.

The child ultimately had hassle latching onto her mom’s breast, Amna mentioned, including: “I fully weaned her off breast milk in six months.”


Yasmin (not her actual identify), a 29-year-old mom additionally primarily based in Karachi, informed Al Jazeera that breastfeeding was tough for her and that nothing felt regular after she gave delivery.

“When my child was dropped at me six hours after [after birth] a nurse tried to assist me breastfeed,” she mentioned. “With hardly any vitality and feeling overwhelmed, I wasn’t in a position to feed her a lot on the hospital as a consequence of my bodily and psychological well being at the moment. However after I got here residence, I began to pump manually. It was taking a lot of my vitality. I might barely sit or stroll correctly within the first few days.”

Within the weeks that adopted, regardless of lactation counselling and drugs to assist increase her provide, Yasmin opted for system as a substitute of her personal milk as a result of her psychological well being was struggling and she or he felt switching to system was her solely choice – despite stress from her husband to feed “naturally”. She selected to place her psychological well being first, realizing she was slipping into postpartum despair.

Hareem Sumbul, a licensed lactation counsellor, mentioned breastfeeding stimulates the manufacturing of oxytocin, a happiness hormone that helps calm moms.

However, “in case breastfeeding doesn’t go as deliberate or if there are any hurdles in breastfeeding which trigger stress, it will possibly even contribute to kicking off postpartum despair,” she mentioned.

Breastfeeding charges across the globe

Based on information collected by UNICEF, South Asian nations have the very best unique breastfeeding charges for infants as much as 5 months previous: 57 %.

At 55 %, Jap and Southern Africa have the second-highest breastfeeding charges adopted by Jap Europe and Central Asia (41 %), Latin America and the Caribbean (37 %) and West and Central Africa (37 %).

One in three newborns (33 %) within the Center East and North Africa are solely breastfed.

A retired gynaecologist, who labored in Saudi Arabia for greater than a decade and requested to not be named, informed Al Jazeera that almost all Saudi moms are usually younger and have employed assist to care for the toddler.

“In personal hospitals, there was once ready-made system for kids that was given freely,” she mentioned. “As soon as the kid is placed on the system within the bottle, there are lesser possibilities the kid will take to suckling.”


Globally, North America has the bottom fee of unique breastfeeding for infants throughout the first 5 months of their lives, with simply over 26 %.

Christina Tenorio, a doula and authorized lactation specialist from the Pasadena Breastfeeding Heart in California within the US, feels mother and father have a tendency to modify to system primarily as a result of breastfeeding turns into tough.

“There are additionally mother and father who select to system feed or complement as a result of they need to return to work or they don’t have the power to solely breastfeed,” she mentioned. “They might produce other youngsters or produce other obligations that don’t permit for unique breastfeeding.”

“We undoubtedly see a divide and the discrepancies and disparities in girls of color and the power to pay. Many mother and father need to have two-income households, and plenty of mothers return to work in six to eight weeks. This may undoubtedly lower the longevity of breastfeeding.”

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