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Activities to protect, promote and support of breastfeeding

by Public Health Update

Activities to protect, promote and support of breastfeeding

World Breastfeeding Week 2020 (#WBW2020) will highlights the links between breastfeeding and planetary health. The interconnected nature of people and the planet requires that we must find sustainable solutions that benefit both. We can reduce our carbon and ecological footprints starting with how we feed our babies. During this week, we can conduct following activities to protect, promote and support of breastfeeding;

breastfedingSDGs as a framework for planetary health

  • Align national & international policies and guidance on breastfeeding & Infant and young child feeding (IYCF) with the SDG agenda & other environment/climate initiatives.
  • Ensure that a public health perspective is taken to strengthen Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) & breastfeeding counselling among the general population including during emergencies.
  • Raise awareness among decision-makers to recognise the contribution of breastfeeding to food security & environmental sustainability.
  • Advocate for policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions from the BMS industry.
  • Ensure that the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes & relevant WHA resolutions are fully implemented & monitored.
  • Enact paid family leave & workplace breastfeeding policies based on the ILO Maternity Protection Convention C183 as the minimum standard.

Societal support

  • Advocate for increased financing, monitoring & implementation of better policies & interventions to provide families the support for breastfeeding that they need, especially breastfeeding counselling.
  • Inform communities about the impact of formula feeding on the environment using a variety of communication techniques and influencers.
  • Sensitise journalists and the media to stimulate public debate on the links between breastfeeding & the environment/climate change.
  • Allocate resources for additional research on the climate/environmental impact of BMS.
  • Collect systematic data on the impact of different IYCF policies & programmes in emergency situations.


Breastfeeding counselling is essential

  • Advocate for all women/parents with young children to have access to skilled breastfeeding counselling from health facilities & communities.
  • Implement the revised BFHI 2018 guidelines in all health facilities including private hospitals.
  • Allocate resources for community groups to be able to provide basic breastfeeding counselling & other forms of support close to women/parents.


Ongoing support across the first 1000 days
  • Advocate for ongoing antenatal & postnatal breastfeeding counselling contact to sustain optimal breastfeeding.
  • Create a warm chain of support for breastfeeding by identifying key actors & their roles in the first 1000 days and linking them to each other.
  • Engage fathers/partners & family support to share domestic responsibilities & care for the breastfeeding dyad.
  • Join a mother/parent support group & share experiences with others in the community to normalise breastfeeding.
  • Develop creative ideas for virtual & online activities to engage target audiences in #WBW 2020.
Building knowledge and skills at all levels
  • Invest in consistent training programmes for different levels of health professionals, lactation consultants, community health workers & lay/peer supporters.
  • Advocate for placement of appropriately-trained & skilled staff at various levels: peer supporters, health professionals, lactation consultants and resource persons.
  • Promote scaling up of existing breastfeeding training tools and programmes including online, digital & e-learning methods, as well as face-to-face clinical & other practical teaching.
  • Engage school children, students, youth & social media influencers to spread awareness of the importance of breastfeeding for planetary health.

Leaving no one behind

  • Promote the use of evidence-based international IYCF guidelines to develop national action plans & communication messages.
  • Ensure that breastfeeding protection, promotion & support is specifically included in national emergency-preparedness & response plans.
  • Inform all health workers, community groups & the public about the importance of breastfeeding in national- & community preparedness plans.
  • Reinforce support for breastfeeding families that targets all members of the family & the community by developing appropriate & consistent communication messages.
  • Emphasise hand expression of breastmilk, appropriate use of breastpumps where safe, correct breastmilk storage & preparation, cup feeding, techniques to maintain breast milk supply, relactation & wet nursing.
  • Ensure that donor human milk is available for babies who need   it through human milk banks or other appropriate community initiatives.

Source of info: WABA #WBW2020

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