About 1,000 women on Monday breastfed their children simultaneously during an event held in Rio de Janeiro to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding.
The “1,000 Mothers Breastfeeding” event brought women and children of all ages to the doors of Rio’s Museum of Modern Art, which was also the site of dancing, games and talks.
The event was the curtain-raiser for a series of national and international conferences this week that will bring together health professionals, scientists, parents’ groups and government representatives, among others.
With the slogan “Breastfeeding as a human right should be protected,” the event is aimed at discussing the importance and the benefits of maternal breastfeeding, which – according to some studies – can reduce by up to 13 percent infant mortality for avoidable causes in children under age 5.
According to the Pan American Health Organization, mothers’ milk contains immunoglobulins that protect babies against pneumonia, diarrhea, ear infections and asthma, among other ailments, and it can reduce the risk of childhood overweight and obesity by 12 percent.
According to a study carried out by the PAHO, for every 1,000 babies who are not breastfed, there were 2,033 additional visits to the doctor, 212 days of additional hospitalization and 609 more prescriptions issued for three types of illnesses: ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.