It is estimated that only 25 percent of the world's infants breastfeed exclusively for the first four months, thereby receiving protection against diarrhoeal diseases, ARI and other illnesses associated with inadequate child nutrition. It is estimated that if more infants were breastfed exclusively as recommended, an additional 1.5 million infant deaths, caused each year by diarrhoea, and ARI alone, would be prevented. In addition, breastfeeding has a major influence on the interval between births. In Asia and Africa, it is believed that breastfeeding averts an average of four potential births per women.
Only 11 industrialized countries have taken some action to end distribution of free or low-cost breastmilk substitutes. All but two of 72 developing countries where free and low-cost distribution was the norm, have taken government action to end the practice. Another 52 developing countries where breastmilk substitutes have not taken hold, have been encouraged to take preventive action. NGOs involved in promoting breastfeeding include: Public Interest International; International Baby Food Action Network (IFBAN); La Leche League International (LLLI); International Code Documentation Centre; International Lactation Consultant Organization; World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). WABA is coordinating efforts supporting the [Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding]. World Breastfeeding week is observed in August each year.
2. Similarly, both mother and infant may require nutritional supplements for "bonding" recovery and growth to occur in a healthy way.
3. A certain percentage of infants are in fact allergic to milk in the early months of life. These children, who before this century would simply have died of starvation, are now able to thrive and grow on formulas based on soy or other non-animal protein.
4. Strict adherence to breast feeding can be seen as strengthening the role stereotypes of women, requiring a lack of freedom and flexibility in work and leisure for a prolonged period of time after birth, interfering with professional and career development, social activities and a re-orientation to the outside world.