What is world breastfeeding week?
World breastfeeding week is an awareness week to celebrate and encourage breastfeeding and improve the health and wellbeing of breastfeeding parents and babies worldwide.
It is held annually during the first week of August every year. This year it is being celebrated from 1st-7th August 2022.
How did world breastfeeding week start?
In 1989, WHO and UNICEF released a joint statement titled “Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding: The Special Role of Maternity Services.” The statement outlined the benefits of breastfeeding—infant and maternal health, environmental sustainability, and accessibility. WHO and UNICEF outlined actionable steps for nations to change the community perception of breastfeeding and increase cultural support for parents who choose to breastfeed.
In 1990, UNICEF wrote the Innocenti Declaration, committing to protect and support breastfeeding by addressing social norms and workplace regulations and providing adequate education for mothers. The doctrine recognises that breastfeeding is a critical element of holistic wellness for mothers and children, protecting their physical health and promoting their mental health.
Breastfeeding provides ideal nutrition for children in the first two years of life and is also foundational in long-term health and wellness into adulthood. Breastmilk contains antibodies that help protect against many common childhood illnesses, like asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes, ear infections, gastrointestinal infections and sudden infant death syndrome. Breastmilk provides the energy and nutrients that infants need during the first months of life. It is easier to digest than infant formula, and it can provide cost savings over formula. For the mother, breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and decreases the chances of developing postpartum depression.
Word Breastfeeding Week is organised annually by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), a global network that aims to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding worldwide. WABA collaborates with the World Health Organisation and UNICEF to ensure that aid is given to the right people in the right communities.
Objectives of World Breastfeeding Week 2022 (according to WABA)
Inform people about their role in strengthening the warm chain of support for breastfeeding
Anchor breastfeeding as part of good nutrition, food security and reduction of inequalities
Engage with individuals and organisations along the warm chain of support for breastfeeding
Galvanise action on strengthening the capacity of policy changers and influential systems for transformational change
How can you get involved in world breastfeeding week?
Awareness Post on your social media channels to build awareness. At LittleLamb, we are celebrating by showing off a carousel of breastfeeding parents on our social media - tag us @littlelambnappies to get involved!
You can also share these ready-made social media posts from WABA:
Donate It is also important to recognise that some parents cannot breastfeed, no matter how hard they have tried. If you have an excess milk supply, you could consider donating breast milk via a local breast milk bank.