Each year, World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from August 1 – 7 in at least 120 countries around the globe.
World Breastfeeding Week was established in 1992 by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, along with the support of the WHO and UNICEF. Each year the theme changes, but the overarching goal is to support exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months with the introduction of appropriate complementary foods during the second six months and continued breastfeeding as long as mom and baby desire.
The 2016 theme is Breastfeeding: A key to Sustainable Development. The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals are geared toward lifting people out of poverty while protecting the environment and ultimately improving economic conditions for all the world’s people. And breastfeeding supports this agenda in multiple ways, including:
- Breastfeeding is the low-cost, affordable choice for families. It doesn’t cost extra, takes less energy to produce and does not use precious resources such as water and fuel.
- Breastfeeding promotes optimal nutrition and food security.
- Breastfeeding keeps baby healthy, especially in resource poor settings.
- Breastfeeding doesn’t pollute the environment in it’s production or distribution, and creates less waste, decreasing the burden on families and communities alike.
This year’s World Breastfeeding Week goals include bringing awareness to the Sustainable Development Goals, linking them with breastfeeding, and providing ways in which individuals, communities, and governments can positively impact the world by supporting breastfeeding.
To learn more, visit the World Breastfeeding Week website and look for activities and celebrations in your community. Their Action Folder is full of facts, figures and practical ideas for linking breastfeeding to sustainable development for a better future for generations to come.
The United States Breastfeeding Committee, a coalition of breastfeeding professionals seeking to coordinate advocacy in the US, has designated August National Breastfeeding Month (NBM). Starting in 2011, the USBC began hosting NBM focusing on social media and outreach campaigns to build policy support and practice improvements to improve the breastfeeding climate in the US.
This year’s NBM theme celebrates the five-year anniversary of The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding by looking back at improvements that have been made while at the same time looking forward at what remains to be done to best support moms and babies. They are hoping that local coalitions, organization and practitioners will share what they have done to advance breastfeeding support in light of the Surgeon General’s recommendations. Virtual town hall meetings have been scheduled throughout the month of August to allow stakeholders to share ideas and comments on implementation strategies and needed supports. The USBC will compile the results of these meetings into a comprehensive document at the end of NBM.
To learn more about National Breastfeeding Month, visit the USBC website at http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/nbm. You can get involved by following the USBC on Twitter and liking them on Facebook, and following the hashtags #NBM2016, #breastfeeding, and ##SGCTA on social media.
Many local breastfeeding support organizations and coalitions hold World Breastfeeding Week activities for moms, babies and families. For example, La Leche League USA coordinates local Live, Love, Latch! activities with their local mother-to-mother breastfeeding support Groups. Check with your local health department, pediatrician, or hospital to see what events might be happening in your area to celebrate breastfeeding.