Sustaining Breastfeeding Together: WABA | World Breastfeeding Week 2017
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August in more than 170 countries to
encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration made by WHO and UNICEF policy-makers in August 1990 to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the best way to provide newborns with the nutrients they need. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years or beyond. 20 years ago, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) launched its 1st World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) campaign with the theme: “Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative”. So much has happened in these 20 years, it is time to celebrate but also to look back, understand what has happened and why. Then plan what more can be done to support all women to be able to optimally feed and care for of their infants and young children. (WHO)
WBW2017 celebrates working together for the common good, which produces sustainable results, greater than the sum of our individual efforts. Evidence on the benefits of breastfeeding is already available to us. We know that breastfeeding aids the survival of infants and helps them thrive, has long-term health benefits for women, yields economic benefits and enhances the well being of all. The challenge for champions of breastfeeding is to translate globally agreed policies to positive action in our communities.
We learnt in WBW2016 how the protection, promotion and support for breastfeeding are a key to sustainable development. We grouped the 17 SDGs into four Thematic Areas that relate to each other and to breastfeeding. These four groups help us to define our work in the context of the SDGs. From this year onwards, they will also help us find others to work with.
Objectives of WABA|World Breastfeeding Week 2017
- INFORM: Understand the importance of working together across the four Thematic Areas.
- ANCHOR: Recognize your role and the difference you make within your area of work.
- ENGAGE: Reach out to others to establish areas of common interest.
- GALVANISE: Work together to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
THEMATIC AREA 1: NUTRITION, FOOD SECURITY AND POVERTY REDUCTION
Nutrition: Breastfed infants are provided with optimal nutrition and protection against infections.
Food security: Breastmilk is a safe and secure source of food even in times of humanitarian crises.
Poverty reduction: Breastfeeding is a low cost way of feeding babies without burdening household budgets.
NO POVERTY ZERO HUNGER GOOD HEALTH AND WELL BEING RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION.
Includes SDG1 (No Poverty), SDG2 (Zero Hunger), SDG3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG12 (Responsible Consumption and Production)
THEMATIC AREA 2: SURVIVAL, HEALTH AND WELL BEING
Survival: Breastfeeding significantly improves the survival of infants, children and mothers.
Health and wellbeing: Breastfeeding significantly improves the health, development and wellbeing of infants and children as well as mothers, both in the short- and long-term.
Includes SDG1 (No Poverty), SDG3 (Good Health and Well-being), SDG4 (Quality Education), SDG10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities)
THEMATIC AREA 3: ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Environment: Breastmilk is a natural, renewable food that is environmentally safe: produced and delivered without pollution, packaging or waste.
Climate change: Formula production and consumption generates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which accelerate global warming.
Includes SDG6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), SDG13 (Climate Action), SDG14 (Life Below Water), SDG15 (Life on Land)
THEMATIC AREA 4: WOMEN’S PRODUCTIVITY AND EMPLOYMENT
Women’s productivity: Employers benefit from having a more contented and productive workforce due to less employee absenteeism, increased loyalty and less staff turnover.
Employment: Parental protection and other workplace policies can enable women to combine breastfeeding with paid work.
SDG1 (No Poverty), SDG4 (Quality Education), SDG5 (Gender Equality0, SDG8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities)
Optimal infant-feeding practices
Breastfeeding is vital to the healthy growth and development of infants. It also has important implications for the health of mothers.
WHO and UNICEF recommend:
- Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life.
- Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Exclusive breastfeeding – the infant only receives breastmilk without any additional food or drink, not even water
- Breastfeeding on demand
- No use of bottles, teats or pacifiers
- After 6 months, infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond