The World Breastfeeding Day has been observed by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) for the past 22 years. The theme for this year's World Breastfeeding Week that is being observed between August 1 to August 7, 2014 is 'BREASTFEEDING: A Winning Goal - for Life!'
Breastfeeding is the first and best gift that a mother can give her newborn. Exclusive breastfeeding is advised for the first six months and continued breastfeeding for two years and more along with adequate complementary feeding. The World Breastfeeding Week is a good time to remind the society the importance of breastfeeding.
AdvertisementBreastfeeding is an important step in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), targets that were established by the United Nations and several governments to be achieved by 2015. Below are the 8 MDGs and how breastfeeding could assist in their realization.
Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
Adopt breastfeeding and you can ensure that your baby does not suffer from malnourishment. Since breastfeeding does not have any economic impact, it can be adopted even by the poor.
Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
Breastfeeding can help to achieve the goal of universal primary education by ensuring that the child's mental development is not affected and therefore able to learn what is being taught in school.
Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Breastfeeding ensures that both the male and the female child receive equal nutrition in the early years of life. Breastfeeding is exclusively a woman's right, who should receive adequate support from the society to make it happen.
Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality
Breastfeeding is an effective way to reduce infant mortality by preventing malnutrition and improving immunity of the child.
Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health
Breastfeeding provides a number of health benefits to the mother as well. Some of these are:
• It helps to control bleeding following delivery.
• It reduces the chances of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer
• It reduces the chances of osteoporosis
• It helps to space out pregnancies
Goal 6: Combat HIV / AIDS, malaria and other diseases
With respect to controlling HIV infection, if anti-HIV medications are administered to the mother suffering from HIV as well as the baby during breastfeeding, the chances of the infection passing to the baby can be reduced to a minimum.
Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Breastfeeding is a direct and most natural way of transfer of nutrition from the mother to the baby. Therefore, there is no need to develop feeding implements and thereby increase the carbon imprint on the earth.
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
Through the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, a global partnership has been developed which has an important role to play in supporting the development of the world.
Thus as it is obvious, breastfeeding only has advantages. It has health benefits for the mother, ensures that baby does not suffer from malnutrition or other illnesses, and assists in sustainable global development. Let us join in this endeavor of WABA to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.