The World Breastfeeding Week which is celebrated annually starting from August 1st, 2019 to August 7th, 2019 encourages breastfeeding and spreads awareness around health benefits of it for mothers and children across the world.
World Breastfeeding Week was first celebrated when the Innocenti Declaration was signed way back in August 1990 by government policymakers, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other organisations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
According to the WHO, breastfeeding to near-universal levels could save more than 8,00,000 lives every year, majorly children who fall under 6 months. Breast milk also has the required nutrition for a newborn baby and there are several benefits of it.
On August 1st, 2019, the Assam government took to Twitter and encouraged women to breastfeed their newborns. The tweet also listed out the benefits:
- Enhances cognition and perception in children
- Reduces the risk of diseases and illness of children
- Helps maintain a healthy gap in conceiving two children
- Beneficial for mother’s health
- Prevents uterine or breast cancer in mothers
The Union Ministry of Health too celebrating the essence of motherhood and promoting breastfeeding, shared a list of benefits.
It needs to be mentioned here, according to WHO, breastfeeding reduces the risk of mothers developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart ailments.
This year, the WHO has come up with new breastfeeding policies:
- Paid Maternity Leave: WHO aims to stress upon enacting paid maternity leaves of at least 18 weeks.
- Paid Paternity Leave: Along with mothers, fathers too share the responsibility of taking care of their children.
- Parent-Friendly Workplace: The WHO wishes to highlight the importance of a parent-friendly workplace to encourage mothers to breastfeed. WHO advocates for breastfeeding breaks and providing mothers with a safe, private and hygienic space for storing breast milk.
The WHO also recommends exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until a baby is six months old.
Guwahati | First Published: Aug 01, 2019