Improving early and exclusive breastfeeding in Indonesia would help reduce the country's high rates of neonatal mortality and malnutrition among children under five. Fewer than 4 in 10 children are breastfed within an hour of birth, and half of the mothers who do breastfeed stop midway into the six-month period recommended by doctors. These indicators are even worse in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, where one-quarter of 5-year-olds are underweight.
In Jakarta's poorest neighborhoods, Mercy Corps promotes the practice and benefits of breastfeeding. We create training programs for health providers and maternity clinics. And we foster neighborhood-level support groups for pregnant and nursing mothers, promote events that raise awareness about the advantages of breastfeeding, and lobby local and national policymakers.