World Breastfeeding Week is observed every year to emphasize regular breastfeeding for babies. This year breastfeeding week commences on August 1 while it concludes on August 7. Breastfeeding is extremely crucial for the healthy growth and development of an infant. Breastmilk is the best food for newborn babies. It contains antibodies that aid in preventing several prevalent paediatric ailments.
According to World Health Organization, breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival and yet currently, fewer than half of infants under 6 months old are exclusively breastfed. World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) campaign is supported by WHO, UNICEF and many Ministries of Health and civil society partners. In 2018, a World Health Assembly resolution endorsed World Breastfeeding Week as an important health promotion strategy, according to the information on the WHO website.
Theme for World Breastfeeding Week 2023
This year’s theme “Let’s make breastfeeding and work, work!” will focus on breastfeeding and work, providing a strategic opportunity to advocate for essential maternity rights that support breastfeeding – maternity leave for a minimum of 18 weeks, ideally more than 6 months, and workplace accommodations after this point.
Significance for World Breastfeeding Week
With a different theme each year, World Breastfeeding Week aims to promote the enabling environments that help women to breastfeed – including support in the community and the workplace, with adequate protections in government policies and laws – as well as sharing information on breastfeeding benefits and strategies, according to the global health body.
According to WHO, more than half a billion working women are not given essential maternity protections in national laws. Just 20% of countries require employers to provide employees with paid breaks and facilities for breastfeeding or expressing milk. Fewer than half of infants under 6 months of age are exclusively breastfed.
History World Breastfeeding Week
As per World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, World Breastfeeding Week was started in 1992. The week is celebrated in commemoration of the 1990 Innocenti Declaration. The Innocenti Declaration was produced and adopted by participants at the WHO/UNICEF policymakers’ meeting on “Breastfeeding in the 1990s: A Global Initiative”, co-sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (A.I.D.) and the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA), held at the Spedale degli Innocenti, Florence, Italy, on 30 July- 1 August 1990.