World Breastfeeding Week - 2012 - Pledge now: 20 Years World Breastfeeding Week

AUGUST 2012

Understanding the Past - Planning the Future

Celebrating 20 years WBW and 10 years of WHO/UNICEF's Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding and

Twenty years ago, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) launched its first World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) campaign with the theme: "Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative". The week is set aside to encourage breastfeeding and commemorate UNICEF and WHO’s Innocenti Declaration on the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide.

The theme of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is ‘Understanding the Past, Planning for the Future,’ a relevant reference to the lessons learnt and the achievements over the past 20 years on infant and young child feeding (IYCF), and is a call to action to bridge existing gaps in policies and programs supporting breastfeeding and IYCF. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) jointly developed and launched the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding in 2002, identifying a clear need for optimal infant feeding practices in reducing malnutrition as well as poverty. The Global Strategy also calls for the development of comprehensive national policies on infant and young child feeding and provides guidance on how to protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding for first six months with timely introduction of adequate, safe and properly fed complementary foods in addition to guidance on continued breastfeeding for two years or beyond.

Submit your Pledge for World Breastfeeding Week 2012

World Breastfeeding Week is calling on supporting organizations to sign a pledge to Breastfeeding. For every pledge that is received, the WBW 2012 Logo will appear on the world map - listing the names of celebrants! To participate, just complete this pledge form and send it back to WABA as an attachment by emailing to wbw@waba.org.my

Breastfeeding benefits

Breastfeeding is an important aspect of maternal newborn and child health because it gives newborns all the nutrients they need for healthy development while containing antibodies that provide protection against common childhood illnesses—such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, the two primary causes of child mortality worldwide. Breastfeeding is the best way to provide newborn babies with the nutrients they need and the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding recommends that infants start breastfeeding within one hour of life.

Breastfeeding plays a great role in countering malnutrition which is tied to approximately one third of deaths amongst children under five; yet, the global exclusive breastfeeding rate of infants 0-6 months is just under 40% (WHO 2012). Over two third of those deaths, often associated with improper feeding practices, occur during the first year of life. By providing infants with the right amount of amount of protein, sugar, fat and most vitamins, breastfeeding is key to healthy child development and is also beneficial to mothers as it reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer later in life, helps women return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster, and lowers rates of obesity.

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