08 Aug 2018
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
The theme of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is “Breastfeeding: Foundation for Life” — a recognition of the importance of breastfeeding to a baby’s future.
From the earliest moments of a child’s life, breastfeeding can mean the difference between life and death. Putting newborns to the breast within the first hour of life safeguards against newborn deaths. In fact, improving breastfeeding practices could save the lives of 823,000 children under age five every year.
And in emergency settings, when communities are faced with limited access to clean water and basic health services, breastfeeding guarantees a safe, nutritious and accessible food source for infants and young children, while shielding them from disease.
Despite these clear benefits, many children are missing out. Globally, only about two out of five of all newborns are put to the breast within an hour of birth — and only 40 per cent of children under six months of age are exclusively breastfed.
There are many reasons why millions of women are unable to start and continue breastfeeding successfully.