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Highlights:

  • World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated each year from August 1 to uplift breastfeeding norms and improve the health of newborn babies across the globe
  • The global crusade was first organized by WABA, aiming to spread awareness about the benefits of initially feeding the new-borns for 6 months
  • WHO with UNICEF and partners are encouraging the importance of family-friendly policies to enable breastfeeding and help parents foster and bond with their children in early life
  • Counselling women will empower to overcome challenges which can prevent feeding and care practices that may obstruct with optimal breastfeeding

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated each year from 1-7 August to uplift breastfeeding norms and improve the health of newborn babies across the globe. This week memorialize the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. The global crusade was first organized by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) aiming to spread awareness about the benefits of initially feeding the new-borns for 6 months.

WHO has pledged to work with UNICEF and partners to encourage the importance of family-friendly policies to enable breastfeeding and help parents foster and bond with their children in early life in this year. Sanctioning paid maternity leave for a minimum of 18 weeks, and paid paternity leave are initiated to enact shared responsibility of caring for their children on an equal basis. Breastfeeding breaks are promoted and made accessible so that the mothers can access a parent-friendly workplace to protect and support their ability to continue breastfeeding upon return to work. private and hygienic space need to acquire for expressing and storing breastmilk with affordability.

The goal established by WABA after its inception on February 14, 1991, was to provide immunity and proper growth by the primary source of nutrition for a child which can help protect the child from various deadly diseases including pneumonia. Increasing breastfeeding to near-universal levels could save more than 800 000 lives every year, the majority being children under 6 months. WABA’s 2020 theme is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet” while highlighting how infant breastfeeding can directly affect the environment and climate change, and how it is responsible for the health and well-being of the planet and its people.

Not only for the infants’ benefit but mothers has also a decreased chances to develop breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It is estimated that increased breastfeeding could prevent 20 000 maternal deaths each year due to breast cancer. WHO recommends to include nutritious complementary foods while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years or beyond to reduce the risks. Counselling women can empower to overcome challenges which can prevent feeding and care practices that may obstruct with optimal breastfeeding.

A variety of healthy foods in the mother’s diet can help both the baby and the mother to adapt breastfeeding to ensure health and validity. WHO recommends mothers to focus on proteins they intake, having more calcium-rich and Omega-3 fatty acids, taking supplements of Vitamin D and Galactagogues. Unicef Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore in a tweet encouraged ‘to support the mothers to get started and to sustain breastfeeding. It will deliver health, nutritional and emotional benefits to the both especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.’

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