World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is a global campaign celebrated every year from August 1 to 7 to celebrate breastfeeding and encourage breastfeeding families in an effort to improve the health of babies around the world. Initiated by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) in 1992, WBW commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding.”
The theme for WBW 2019 is “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding” inclusive of all types of parents in today’s world. According to WABA, “Focusing on supporting both parents to be empowered is vital in order to realise their breastfeeding goals. Empowerment is a process that requires evidence-based, unbiased information and support to create an enabling environment where mothers can breastfeed optimally. Breastfeeding is in the mother’s domain and when fathers, partners, families, workplaces, and communities support her, breastfeeding improves.”
We at the Breastfeeding Resource Center are proud to celebrate nursing families for not just WBW, but every day. The facts and figures below are only a brief outline of global breastfeeding, yet they still serve as a reminder as to why our work is so important: providing IBCLC care in a supportive space for families, educating medical professionals, and helping members of our community build a network with other parents has a positive impact for breastfeeding in Montgomery County and the Philadelphia area.
- World Breastfeeding Week is observed in over 120 countries.
- Since 2016, WBW is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.
- In 2018, a World Health Assembly resolution endorsed WBW as an important breastfeeding promotion strategy.
- Breastfeeding is potentially one of the top nutrition interventions for reducing under-five mortality. (UNICEF)
- If breastfeeding were scaled up to near universal levels, about 820,000 child lives would be saved every year. (UNICEF)
- Globally, only 40% of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed. (WHO)
- In low- and middle-income countries, just 4%, or 1 in 25 babies, are never breastfed. In high-income countries, 21% of babies, or more than 1 in 5, never receive breast milk. (UNICEF)
- Of the high-income countries, Ireland ranked lowest with only 55% of babies ever being breastfed, followed by France with 63% and the US with 74%.