All you need to know about World Breastfeeding Week

World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network working for the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide. It is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August which is the first week of August. This year’s slogan for the World Breastfeeding Week is “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding”. The main aim of celebrating the week is to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies across the world. Today it is celebrated in more than 120 countries by UNICEF and WHO and other organizations. Every year WABA coordinates the annual World Breastfeeding Week campaign. Moreover, breastfeeding is the key to achieve sustainable development goals by 2030. According to the UNICEF report, 60% of the world’s total infants do not get six months of exclusive breastfeeding.

Within one hour of birth, breastfeeding should be initiated. It is considered to be a very important source of energy and nutrients in children aged between 6–23 months. Breastfeeding has several benefits for the infant as well as the mother. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease in the mother. It prevents infections like early-stage diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections.

A woman has to face certain challenges while breastfeeding her child wherever and whenever she wants. Family-friendly policies are supported by the government and the organization for the breastfeeding mothers. This includes paid maternity leave for a minimum of 18 weeks, and paid paternity leave so that responsibility of the child is shared by both the parent equally. Women should get appropriate atmosphere suitable for her and the baby where she can breastfeed her child. The policy supports women’s participation in the workplace, improve their physical and mental health. They result in employee retention, improve job satisfaction, and result in fewer absences. The policy programmes in breastfeeding counselling and support for women in health facilities and an end to the promotion of breast-milk substitutes. Family-friendly policies strengthen the economy of the nation.
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