Carmen Gracinda Silvan Scochi from the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil will encourage mothers of preterm infants in Brazil to exclusively breastfeed them for the first six months to better protect them against infections and optimize their growth and neurodevelopment. The incidence of preterm births in Brazil is increasing, and causes multiple short and long-term complications. Exclusive breastfeeding can limit some of these complications but is particularly challenging with preterm infants due to their incomplete development and the need for hospitalization, as well as there being practical and emotional difficulties for the mother. The existing WHO/UNICEF global program for promoting exclusive breastfeeding has been adapted specifically for preterm infants and involves better educating medical staff so that they provide the practical and emotional support to encourage exclusive breastfeeding. They will establish the program in 10 hospitals/maternity units across Brazil and evaluate its effect on the numbers of preterm infants being exclusively breastfed.
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