World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO(World Health Organization), UNICEF( United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
The day was first started and celebrated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action in the year 1992. And later it is being celebrated in more than 120 countries by the UNICEF, WHO and their participants such as individuals, associations and governments. World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action was also established in the year 1991 at 14th of Feb to promote the comprehensive breastfeeding culture worldwide by providing the support and achieve the real goal.
This year, the WHO is working with UNICEF and partners to promote the importance of helping mothers breastfeed their babies within that crucial first hour of life. Skin-to-skin contact along with suckling at the breast stimulates the production of breastmilk, including colostrum, also called the baby’s ‘first vaccine’, which is extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies.
IMPORTANCE OF BREASTFEEDING
- 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.
- Nutritious complementary foods should then be added while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years or beyond.
- It is very necessary for the mothers to get timely support and healthcare education to their baby including breastfeeding.
- The continuous support and intimation can bring the gradual and permanent changes in the social living and ultimately healthy and disease free social living.
- To sustain a continuous breastfeeding can be traditionally supported by the family, community leaders, trained health workers, lactation consultants, friends and partners.