Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from August 1 to 7 to encourage breastfeeding to improve the health of babies around the world.
It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. This year’s World Breastfeeding Week slogan is Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life.
Breastfeeding is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until a baby is 6 months old. This year, WHO is working with UNICEF and partners to promote the importance of helping mothers breastfeed their babies within the crucial first hour of life. Skin-to-skin contact along with sucking at the breast stimulate the production of breastmilk, including colostrum, also called the baby’s ‘first vaccine,’ which is extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies.
The annual event aims to draw public support to get more mothers to switch to breast milk from infant formula. WBW 2018 aims to inform people of the links between good nutrition, food security, poverty reduction and breastfeeding; anchor breastfeeding as the foundation of life; engage with individuals and organizations for greater impact; and galvanize action to advance breastfeeding as part of good nutrition, food security and poverty reduction.
Despite the health and economic benefits for babies and mothers, three out of five babies are still not breastfed early globally. The UN effort to promote and support breastfeeding needs the support of governments and the private sector if it is to be adopted by more mothers and accepted by society as a natural, normal, practical and smart choice of a mother for her child.
Breastfeeding is the foundation of life. We can help mothers by building that foundation by creating a society that encourages breastfeeding, in public and private, so it is accepted as a normal and expected act between a mother and her child.*