“Breastfeeding is a natural ‘safety net’ against the worst effects of poverty.... Exclusive breastfeeding goes a long way toward cancelling out the health difference between being born into poverty and being born into affluence... It is almost as if breastfeeding takes the infant out of poverty for those first few months in order to give the child a fairer start in life and compensate for the injustice of the world into which it was born.” James P. Grant, Executive Director of UNICEF (1980-1995) I recently completed my master’s thesis on breastfeeding in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The benefits of breastfeeding are well documented. Nevertheless, the practice of breastfeeding has become less common in recent history. Despite the many efforts of organizations such as the United Nations international children’s emergency fund (UNICEF) and the world health organization (WHO), their recommendations and goals are not being met in many countries. Statistics from UNICEF and the WHO were used to compare the rates of breastfeeding parameters in the Eastern Mediterranean region (EMR) with global averages and to draw comparisons within the region. Different parameters to determine the dynamics of breastfeeding were investigated, including early initiation of breastfeeding, rate of children ever breastfed, exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding. The data analysis showed, that nearly all countries are still far away from reaching the WHO targets for 2025. Out of the 22 countries in the EMR, the only countries, which have reached the target rate of 50% exclusive breastfeeding, are Iran, Sudan and Afghanistan. There are a large variety of factors, which influence breastfeeding practices. In the past, the aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes was identified as a deterring factor, so the international code of marketing of breast-milk substitutes was devised. Other influencing factors include misconceptions regarding breastfeeding and lack of guidance on lactation. It is the goal of the baby-friendly hospital initiative, to provide such guidance. Maternity leave and breastfeeding breaks at work are also areas, in which certain policies can improve the prevalence of breastfeeding. It can be concluded, that while the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding are widely known and accepted, political interventions are needed to support mothers and give newborns the best possible start to life.