UN Agencies Launch World Breastfeeding Week, Stress Need for Greater Breastfeeding Support

United Nations agencies kicked off World Breastfeeding Week on Tuesday, emphasizing the need for greater breastfeeding support across all workplaces.

In the last decade, the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding has increased by a remarkable 10 percentage points, to 48 per cent globally, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Promoting and supporting breastfeeding at workplaces can help drive the progress higher and towards the global target of 70 per cent by 2030, the organizations stated.

“Supportive workplaces are key. Evidence shows that while breastfeeding rates drop significantly for women when they return to work, that negative impact can be reversed when workplaces facilitate mothers to continue to breastfeed their babies,” Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director noted.

Highlighting the benefits of supporting breastfeeding for mothers, babies and businesses, UNICEF and WHO urged governments, donors, civil society, and the private sector to support all working mothers – including those in the informal sector or on temporary contracts.

The UN agencies also called for sufficient paid leave for all working parents and care-givers to meet the needs of their young children as well as increased investments in breastfeeding support policies and programs in all settings.

WHO and UNICEF further recommend that breastfeeding should begin within the first hour of birth and continue through the first six months of a child’s life – meaning no other foods or liquids are provided, including water.

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is a global campaign celebrated every 1-7 August to raise awareness and galvanize action on themes related to breastfeeding.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency