Held internationally every year from August 1-7, World Breastfeeding Week is dedicated to the celebration and promotion of breastfeeding. The first World Breastfeeding Week was held in 1992 and was coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). It is now celebrated in more than 175 countries.
Every World Breastfeeding Week has a theme around which the activities and educational events are planned. The theme for 2014 is “Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal—for Life!” This theme refers to the Millennium Development Goals that were established by the United Nations in 1990. These goals are supposed to be achieved by 2015; one such goal is increasing the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding.
You might wonder why the United Nations cares so much about breastfeeding. While we know that breastfeeding has wonderful benefits for mom and for baby, improved breastfeeding rates would actually have a huge effect globally in a multitude of areas. A great graphic on the World Breastfeeding Week website shows that improved breastfeeding would:
Help decrease worldwide hunger and malnutrition
Reduce childhood mortality
Decrease the amount of waste associated with formula feeding and bottle feeding
A goal of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is to make the public more aware of the Millennium Development Goals and show how breastfeeding relates to this. Another goal is to increase support from both men and women alike, since increased support from both genders so often plays a role in breastfeeding success.
Many local World Breastfeeding Week events have been organized in the form of celebrations, educational seminars, movie screenings, and Big Latch On events. Go here to find an event close to your home. If you are organizing one, be sure to submit a pledge on the World Breastfeeding Week website to get your event up so others can find you!
WABA Press release.
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