Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. Breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in life. It delivers health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both children and mothers. And it forms part of a sustainable food system. But while breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not always easy. Mothers need support, both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding. Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from August 1 to August 7
Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses. Breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs. Infant and young child feeding is a key area to improve child survival and promote healthy growth and development. The first 2 years of a child’s life are particularly important, as optimal nutrition during this period lowers morbidity and mortality, reduces the risk of chronic disease, and fosters better development overall.
WHO and UNICEF recommend:
Early initiation of breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth.
Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.
Introduction of nutritionally-adequate and safe complementary (solid) foods at 6 months together with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.
Every infant and child has the right to good nutrition according to the “Convention on the Rights of the Child”. Globally, 3 in 4 babies are not breastfed in the first hour of life. Over 820000 children could be saved yearly if all children 0-23 months were optimally breastfed. Only 41% of infants under 6 months of age are exclusively breastfed.
World Breastfeeding Week (WBW)2020
World Breastfeeding Week is a global campaign to raise awareness and galvanise action on themes related to breastfeeding. World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every 1-7 August in commemoration of the 1990 Innocenti Declaration. WBW started in 1992, with annual themes including healthcare systems, women and work, the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, community support, ecology, economy, science, education and human rights. Since 2016, WBW is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2018, a World Health Assembly resolution endorsed WBW as an important breastfeeding promotion strategy.
The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2020 is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”. The theme will highlight the links between breastfeeding and the environment/climate change and planetary health. It will focus on the impact of infant feeding on the environment/climate change and the imperative to protect, promote and support breastfeeding for the health of the planet and its people.
Objectives of World Breastfeeding week
INFORM people about the links between breastfeeding and the environment/climate change.
ANCHOR breastfeeding as a climate-smart decision.
ENGAGE with individuals and organisations for greater impact.
GALVANISE action on improving the health of the planet and people through breastfeeding.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important to find innovative solutions to ensure that access to these essential services is not disrupted and that families continue to receive the breastfeeding counselling they need. Women with COVID-19 can breastfed if they wish to do so. They should practice respiratory hygiene, wash hands before and after touching the baby, routinely clean and disinfect services.
Celebrate Breastfeeding Week with Nepal Health Magazine .