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World Breastfeeding Week – Empower Parents and Promote Breastfeeding

World Breastfeeding Week – Empower Parents and Promote Breastfeeding

Written by Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman, MD
Medically Reviewed by 
The Medindia Medical Review Team on August 1, 2019 at 4:12 PM
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  • World Breastfeeding Week is observed annually from the 1st -7th August to raise awareness among the general public about the advantages of breastfeeding and to try and bring about governmental policy changes that encourage breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding should be initiated within an hour of birth and the baby should be exclusively breastfed for at least the first six months to ensure optimal growth and development and prevent infections
  • The theme for this year 2019 is ‘Empower Parents and Promote Breastfeeding.’
  • Empowering parents, by providing them with paid maternity and paternity leave and creating parent-friendly workplaces will encourage more mothers to breastfeed their baby for a longer period of time

World Breastfeeding Week is observed from the 1st-7th August and the theme for 2019 is 'Empower Parents and Promote Breastfeeding.' Breastfeeding should be initiated within an hour of birth and the baby should be breastfed for the first six months to ensure optimal growth and development and prevent infections.

History of World Breastfeeding Week

The first World Breastfeeding Week was observed in 1992. It was begun to honor the 1990 Innocenti Declaration signed by global organizations as well as policymakers and officials of nations across the world to support and promote breastfeeding. The event is observed from the 1st-7th August and sponsored by international organizations such as the WHO, UNICEF and the WABA (World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action).

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World Breastfeeding Week – Empower Parents and Promote Breastfeeding

Since its inception, it has become a popular global movement, choosing a specific theme to focus on for the entire year. The theme for World Breastfeeding Day 2019 is 'Empower Parents & Promote Breastfeeding.'

How We Can Promote Breastfeeding

  • Many educated and working women choose not to breastfeed their babies. The advantages and importance of breastfeeding for both mother and baby should be emphasized through catchy slogans and messages and shared widely on social media such as Twitter and Facebook
  • Hospitals and medical centers should counsel women following delivery about how crucial breast milk is for the baby's growth and development
  • Print and visual media should carry prominent programs and articles highlighting the importance of breastfeeding for infants for the first six months
  • For breastfeeding campaign to be successful, a woman must receive support from her family, work pace, her social circle, healthcare system and local administration
  • Workplaces should be made parent-friendly. Women should receive paid maternity leave to encourage breastfeeding and organizations should provide clean and safe rooms for women to breastfeed their babies.
  • Policy changes should be made to make it compulsory for work-places to provide women space and privacy to breastfeed their babies

Breastfeeding Facts and Figures

  • Breastfeeding must be initiated soon after birth
  • Infants should be fed only breast milk for the initial six months
  • After six months, breast milk can be given along with the gradual introduction of other solid foods
  • Breast milk ensures optimal growth and development and health of the baby
  • Breast milk contains antibodies that prevent infections in the baby
  • Breastfeeding improves bonding between mother and baby
  • Breastfeeding also benefits mothers' health and reduces the risk of heart disease, postpartum depression and certain cancers
  • Formula milk does not contain the essential nutrients and antibodies found in mother's milk
  • Risk of HIV infection transmission can be reduced by treating the mother or baby with anti-HIV drugs
  • Government policies ban promotion or distribution of breast milk substitutes either to women or health centers
  • Women should receive support both in family and workplace to breastfeed her baby
  • Statistics estimate that breastfeeding prevents 20,000 maternal deaths each year
  • Over 800,000 child deaths are prevented annually
  • Breastfeeding ensures and increases the chances of successfully achieving all the 17 sustainable development goals of the UN Development Program aiming for global prosperity, health and peace
  • Only 2 out of 5 babies in middle-income nations are breastfed within the first hour of life
  • By 2025, World Health Assembly (WHA) hopes to achieve the global target that 50% of women will exclusively breastfeed

What is Breastfeeding Scorecard?

Introduced in 2017, the breastfeeding scorecard hopes to increase accountability, and encourage policy changes in nations across the world to fulfill their pledge to support and promote.

In summary, World Breastfeeding Week is a global event aiming to promote breastfeeding and educate women and the general public about the untold benefits of breast milk. Let us all join hands and make the campaign a success.

References :
  1. 10 facts on breastfeeding - (https://www.who.int/features/factfiles/breastfeeding/en/)
  2. Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding - (https://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/)
  3. World Breastfeeding Week 2019 - (https://www.healthynewbornnetwork.org/event/world-breastfeeding-week-2019/)

Source: Medindia

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