World Breastfeeding Week is an annual celebration held every year from August 1-7 in more than a 120 countries. It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration made by the World Health Organization and UNICEF in 1990 to protect and support breastfeeding.
This year’s theme is Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal – for LIFE! This theme asserts the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding. Increasing the rate of breastfeeding in the U.S. has been a public health priority for more than a century. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding seeks to shift how we, as a nation, think about breastfeeding.
All of us need to understand that breastfeeding is important. Breastfeeding protects babies. Mothers and our society benefit, too. Breastfeeding ranks among the most effective interventions for improving the health of children and has a significant impact on women’s health. For more information, take a look at this website.
Instead of talking about the benefits of breastfeeding, we need to consider the risks of feeding a baby with anything other than the milk nature designed for him. Human milk is nutritionally perfect for the human infant and continually changes to meet the needs of the growing baby. It is a highly complex and unique fluid that is strikingly different from the milk of other species, including the cow (infant formulas are cow milk-based). Both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life and then supplemented breastfeeding for at least one year or more.
It will take changes in the way breastfeeding is viewed in our society to further improve breastfeeding initiation and duration rates. Infant formulas are just not the same as breastmilk. Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a baby and infants who are not breastfed are at an increased risk of many diseases and infections. It is like the theme of World Breastfeeding Week states, breastfeeding is “a winning goal for life” and health of mothers and babies.