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World Breastfeeding Week

An event dedicated to raising awareness and protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding around the world.


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Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is known to yield tremendous health benefits for both mother and baby. It provides the baby with critical nutrients and protection from diseases such as pneumonia, leukaemia and obesity and it can help to reduce the mother’s risk of developing ovarian cancer and diabetes.

Yet breastfeeding rates in developed countries are quite low, due to opposition from various sources. The multi-billion dollar formula industry heavily markets breastmilk substitutes as an alternative and when combined with financial pressures to return to work after giving birth and disapproval of breastfeeding in public, many women choose not to breastfeed, simply because it is an easier option.

The Background

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network of organisations and individuals who believe breastfeeding is the right of all children and mothers. WABA acts in accordance with the Innocenti Declaration, which was adopted at the World Health Organisation (WHO)/UNICEF policymakers' meeting on breastfeeding in the 1990s. This calls on all countries and organisations to ensure the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding as every woman’s inalienable right.

What is World Breastfeeding Week?

Held from the 1-7 August each year, World Breastfeeding Week is a global unifying breastfeeding promotional strategy.

Endorsed by UNICEF and WHO, it involves more than 170 countries around the world who each organise their own national activities. A different theme is chosen each year and last year focused on breastfeeding as a key element to sustainable development, in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals committed to by world leaders in 2015.

What’s happening in 2019?

The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2019 is about everyone working together for the common good. Activists, advocates and decision-makers are encouraged to pool their combined resources and knowledge to help achieve the key objectives, which are to inform, anchor, engage and galvanise.

How can you get involved?

During World Breastfeeding Week, there will be a range of activities taking place in countries across the globe including Australia (see the WABA website for details). You can get involved by:

  • Registering your interest and taking part in one of these events.
  • Organising your own event and registering it with WABA.
  • Raising awareness online by creating a web page, blogging or stimulating discussion amongst your social media networks.

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