FIGO publishes statement recommending breastfeeding within first hour of life

To coincide with World Breastfeeding Week 2022, FIGO has published a new statement on the importance of breastfeeding in the first hour of life. Referred to as the "golden hour", the first 60 minutes of a baby's life can have profound benefits for mother and baby. 

Breastfeeding statement title

In its 2015 Think Nutrition First Guidelines, FIGO endorsed the World Health Organization's recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life. FIGO's new statement – Harnessing the golden hour: breastfeeding recommended within first hour of life – reiterates this fact and highlights the protective and life-saving intervention that breastfeeding represents.

Early and sustained breastfeeding is key to optimal health for mother and baby.

– Prof Fionnuala McAuliffe, Chair of FIGO Committee on the Impact of Pregnancy on Long-Term Health

Breastfeeding is at the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and is linked with multiple components needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite the benefits of breastfeeding, many countries have fallen short of achieving optimal early initiation of breastfeeding in the first hour of life. Globally, three in five babies are not breastfed in the first hour of life, which is an issue in high-, middle- and low-income countries.

Breastfeeding in the first hour after birth is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Breastfeed them today, for a healthier tomorrow.

– Dr Hema Divakar, Chair of FIGO Committee on Well Woman Health Care, a strong advocate for preventing illness and promoting wellness

Obstetricians, gynaecologists, midwives, nurses, community health workers and other health professionals have a significant role to play in supporting mothers with breastfeeding, particularly to initiate and sustain breastfeeding. For all healthy newborns, such support should be provided through the health care system as a standard of care.

Helping health care providers address women’s breastfeeding needs is our first step, and helping them understand that the most common response to a breastfeeding challenge is to breastfeed, rather than stop.

– Dr Jeanne Conry, FIGO President

Read or download FIGO's statement

Read the statement in full.