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‘Breastfeeding: Foundation for Life’ - World Breastfeeding Week

‘Breastfeeding: Foundation for Life’ - World Breastfeeding Week

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  • World Breastfeeding Week is observed every year from August 1st to 7th to bring about more awareness on importance of breastfeeding for the health of the newborn
  • The World Health Organization intends to spread this year's theme of "Breastfeeding - Foundation for Life" by promoting the importance of breastfeeding within the crucial first hour of life
  • The benefits of breastfeeding are innumerable and form the foundation for life. It gives the newborn a head start in life by providing them with the best source of nutrition

World Breastfeeding Week is observed annually by several countries across the world in the first week of August (August 1 to 7) to encourage breastfeeding among women because it improves the health, wellbeing, and survival of women and children worldwide.

Breastfeeding Week honors the Innocenti Declaration that was produced and adopted in August 1990 by government policymakers, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.


The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) along with its global network of many individuals and organizations like WHO and UNICEF coordinates the annual World Breastfeeding Week campaign.

This year's World Breastfeeding Week has a theme named "Breastfeeding: Foundation for Life" to make people recognize how important it is to breastfeed to build a baby's future.

Why is Breastfeeding Important?

The WHO recommends to
  • Start breastfeeding within one hour after delivery
  • Make breast milk the only source of milk for the baby up until the first six months of life
  • Add nutritious complementary foods after 6 months while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years or beyond
Initiating nursing within one hour of birth has the following benefits: 
  • Ensures that the baby gets its "first vaccine" known as colostrum, which is extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies
  • Stimulates breast milk production due to the suckling action and skin-to-skin contact
  • Safeguards against newborn deaths
Breastfeeding, of course, has its well-known benefits
  • Helps in the growth of young children
  • Prevents undernutrition
  • Promotes brain development
  • Reduces the risk becoming overweight
  • Guarantees a safe, nutritious and accessible food source for infants and young children, in communities with limited access to clean water and essential health services
Women have been breastfeeding their babies for centuries. We all know its good for the babies, it makes them smarter, it makes them healthier. Then, why is it that there are still lots of mothers who do not practice it? The percentage of women who are unable to breastfeed due to inability to produce milk is quite less.

Many of the other reasons women are unable to start and continue breastfeeding include -
  • Lack of proper support, advice and guidance from family
  • Return to work or school early and feeling overwhelmed with breastfeeding or pumping
  • Attitudes of some doctors and nurses that might influence the mother not to nurse
  • Lack of help and resources like support groups and lactation specialists who can urge mothers not to give up
  • Financial barriers and not being able to rent or buy breast pumps
  • A personal feeling that nursing is embarrassing, uncomfortable, and shameful
  • Health concerns like serious infections and taking medications that might cause the baby harm
The Global Breastfeeding Collective (a partnership of more than 20 international agencies and non-governmental organizations co-led by UNICEF and WHO) recommends increasing funding for comprehensive breastfeeding programs, implementing better monitoring systems to track breastfeeding trends, creating better maternity and paternity leave provisions that encourage breastfeeding, and improving breastfeeding counseling and support in health facilities.

The objectives of World Breastfeeding week #WBW 2018 is to prevent malnutrition in its various forms, to ensure food security even during crises periods, and to break the cycle of poverty.

This year we have to
  • INFORM - spread the message to people about why breastfeeding is connected with proper nutrition, food security, and poverty reduction
  • ANCHOR - make mothers "latch on" to the fact that breastfeeding is the foundation of life
  • ENGAGE - connect with individuals and organizations for greater impact
  • GALVANISE - motivate people to promote breastfeeding as a part of good nutrition, food security, and poverty reduction
By celebrating this year's World Breastfeeding Week, we are committing to help every child, everywhere, and making mothers realize the lifesaving benefits of breastfeeding, no matter where they live.

References :
  1. BREASTFEEDING: Foundation of Life - (http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/)
  2. World Breastfeeding Week 2018 - (http://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2018/08/01/default-calendar/world-breastfeeding-week--2018)

Source: Medindia

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