This year, emphasis is being laid on the Breastfeeding Peer Counselling Program; it could be a cost
effective and highly productive way to reach a larger number of mothers more
frequently. A community support system for mothers is of great vitality
especially during the period when mothers do not visit a healthcare facility.
Owing to the increased global awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding, most
mothers are able to get off to a good start, all too often in the weeks or
months after delivery. But what has been observed immediately after this is a
sharp decline in breastfeeding rates and practices. The increasing rate of
urbanization and other social changes may be the reason for this.
The following are the objectives of WBW 2013
1. To draw
attention to the importance of Peer Support in helping mothers to establish and
2. To inform
people of the highly effective benefits of Peer Counselling, and unite efforts
to expand peer counselling programmes.
3. To encourage
breastfeeding supporters, regardless of their educational background, to step
forward and be trained to support mothers and babies.
4. To identify
local community support contacts for breastfeeding mothers, to whom women can
go to for help and support after giving birth.
5. To call on
governments and maternity facilities globally to actively implement the Ten
Steps, in particular Step 10, to improve duration and rates of exclusive
breastfeeding. (The ten steps proposed as a joint WHO/UNICEF statement is
available at - www.unicef.org/nutrition/files/BFHI_Revised_Section2.4.a_Slides.ppt
"The key to best
breastfeeding practices is continued day-to-day support for the breastfeeding
mother within her home and community." Anyone from the community who is
trained to support mothers can volunteer as peer counsellor. It is imperative
that mothers get support from a wide circle comprising of trained health
workers, lactation consultants, community leaders, or from friends who are also
mothers, and/or from fathers/partners.
WBW in 2008 had proposed 'the
five circles of support'
which have not lost their relevance even
August every year is celebrated as
'World Breastfeeding Week' in more than 120 countries. WBW was first observed
in 1992 by World Alliance for
Breastfeeding Action (WABA). It is currently organized by WABA, WHO and UNICEF.
The prime goal of WBW is to re-establish a global breastfeeding culture and
provide support for breastfeeding everywhere.
are considered active participants in the support dynamic, being both providers
and recipients of information and support'; women are hence placed in the
centre. Support from family and social network 'increases the mother's
confidence in her ability to breastfeed beyond the early weeks and months'.
This group involves husbands/partners/fathers, family and friends.
of health care systems range from mother-friendly prenatal care, supportive
labour and delivery services to postpartum and postnatal care that facilitates
bonding and optimal infant feeding. Trained health workers play key roles.
Suitably modified workplace and environment facilitate mother-baby contact or
expression and storage of breast milk. Government/legislation combats
aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes and enacts paid maternity
Response to Crisis or Emergency represents 'the need for support IF a
woman finds herself in an unexpected and / or serious situation, with little