World Breastfeeding Week: History
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every 1-7 August in commemoration of the 1990 Innocent 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).
Breastfeeding is a natural act, but it is also a learned behavior. All mothers in the Region must be supported to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth, within the first hour after delivery, and should receive practical support to enable them to establish breastfeeding and manage common breastfeeding difficulties. Breastfeeding is a powerful tool in the Region’s ongoing efforts to manage the double burden of malnutrition, and will help reduce women’s risk of ovarian and breast cancer. It is a universal solution that gives everyone a fair start to life, and which lays the foundation for good health and survival of children and women. At the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week, WHO reiterates its commitment to support all countries of the Region to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, for a South-East Asia Region in which every newborn and child survives and thrives.
WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK 2022 is focusing on strengthening the capacity of actors that have to protect, promote and support breastfeeding across different levels of society. These actors make up the warm chain of support for breastfeeding. Target audiences including governments, health systems, workplaces and communities will be informed, educated and empowered to strengthen their capacity to provide and sustain breastfeeding-friendly environments for families in the post pandemic world.
World Breastfeeding Week aims to highlight the huge benefits that breastfeeding can bring to the health and welfare of babies and benefits to maternal health, focusing on good nutrition, poverty reduction, and food security. World breastfeeding week has the dual goal of improving the health of babies and promoting, protecting, and supporting the rights of women to breastfeed anywhere and at any time.
Aims of World Breastfeeding Week
- To support mothers through peer groups to promote, establish, and carry on breastfeeding by informing families of the benefits of Peer Counseling.
- To educate and train health care practitioners to provide support to mothers and babies in effective ways.
- Call governments to action to recognize the importance of the protection and promotion of breastfeeding and provide legislation to support a breastfeeding mother.
- To deepen knowledge within the community to enhance, promote, and protect breastfeeding.
Five Benefits of Breastfeeding
- For the majority of newborns, breast milk is the best source of nutrients: The mother’s breast milk will change as the infant grows to satisfy their nutritional needs.
- Breastfeeding can help shield infants from certain acute and chronic illnesses and diseases: Babies that are breastfed are less likely to develop asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Breastfed babies are also less likely to develop stomach illnesses or ear infections.
- The baby receives antibodies from the mother through breast milk: These antibodies aid in the immune system development of infants and shield them against disease.
- Mothers can nurse anywhere and anytime: Without having to prepare bottles or mix formula, mothers may feed their infants on the go. Breastfeeding while travelling can also be a source of comfort for infants whose regular schedule is disturbed.
- Breastfeeding lowers a mother’s risk of ovarian, breast, and type 2 diabetes as well as high blood pressure: The mother’s health also benefits from breastfeeding. Type 2 diabetes, certain malignancies, and high blood pressure are less prevalent in breastfeeding mothers. Know the benefits of breastfeeding for newborn babies.