World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA

In the Davis area, many women breastfeed their babies and there is a lot of support for it within the local community. That is not the case in many other parts of the US and the world.

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is an annual celebration and awareness campaign highlighting and recognizing the benefits of breastfeeding in communities across the globe. As the greatest outreach vehicle for the breastfeeding movement, WBW aims to bring breastfeeding to the forefront of community agendas so everyone can be part of the dialogue. Now in its 25th year, WBW is celebrated every year from August 1-7 all over the globe to encourage breastfeeding improve the health of babies around the world.

This year's theme is "Sustaining Breastfeeding Together" and education and outreach falls in four thematic areas:

Nutrition, Food Security and Poverty Reduction

Nutrition: Breastfed infants are provided with optimal nutrition and protection against infections.
Food security: Breast milk is a safe and secure source of food even in times of humanitarian crises.
Poverty reduction: Breastfeeding is a low cost way of feeding babies without burdening household budgets.

Survival, Health, and Well-Being

Survival: Breastfeeding significantly improves the survival of infants, children and mothers.
Health and well-being: Breastfeeding significantly improves the health, development and well-being of infants and children as well as mothers, both in the short- and long-term.

Environment and Climate Change

Environment: Breast milk is a natural, renewable food that is environmentally safe: produced and delivered without pollution, packaging or waste.
Climate change: Formula production and consumption generates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which accelerate global warming.

Women's Productivity and Employment

Women’s productivity: Employers benefit from having a more contented and productive workforce due to less employee absenteeism, increased loyalty and less staff turnover.
Parental protection and other workplace policies can enable women to combine breastfeeding with paid work.

Over 820,000 children die each year and millions more suffer from avoidable diseases and learning difficulties as a result of suboptimal breastfeeding practices. If even half of all babies under 6 months of age were exclusively breastfed, we would save hundreds of thousands of lives and help protect against breast cancer, ovarian cancer and diabetes in mothers across the globe.