From birth through adulthood, a child’s continuous health depends on proper infant nourishment. Due to its role in lowering morbidity and mortality, lowering the risk of chronic disease throughout their lifetime, and supporting regular mental and physical development, proper feeding in the first three years of life is particularly crucial.
Despite the fact that every infant and child has the right to a healthy diet under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, less than one-fourth of infants have access to the necessary nutritional variety and feeding frequency in many developing nations. Up to one-third of all occurrences of child malnutrition are caused by improper feeding techniques. The spread of processed meals like infant formula and goods high in salt, free sugars, and trans fats makes this problem worse. As a result, there is a significant drop in the number of moms who breastfeed their children and an increase in obesity and bad diets. It has been demonstrated that breastfeeding is crucial for a child’s growth, including enhanced IQ, academic success, and adult income.
World Breastfeeding Week 2022
World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is a worldwide initiative to promote breastfeeding-related issues and inspire action. Every year from August 1–7, WBW is observed in commemoration of the Innocenti Declaration from 1990. Since its inception in 1992, World Breastfeeding Week has featured annual themes on healthcare systems, women and the workplace, the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, community support, ecology, the economy, science, and human rights. WBW has been in line with the Sustainable Development Goals since 2016. (SDGs). In 2018, the World Health Assembly supported WBW as a crucial strategy for promoting breastfeeding.
At the local, national, and international levels, WHO continues to collaborate with Member States and partners to promote optimal baby and child nutrition, including breastfeeding awareness initiatives. One of the best strategies to ensure a child’s health and survival is to breastfeed them. There would be a yearly saving of about 820 000 child lives if breastfeeding were scaled up to nearly universal levels. Only 40% of infants younger than six months old are exclusively breastfed worldwide.
Breastfeeding is actively marketed by WHO as the greatest food source for newborns and young children as it provides numerous health advantages for mothers as well as babies. Notably, breast milk gives a baby the nutrients they need to support their growth and development. At the same time, the technique guards mothers against fatal ailments and disorders. Most health agencies promote breastfeeding since it is seen to be the greatest way to give a baby the best start in life.
Benefits of breastfeeding for moms:
- Breastfeeding enables mothers to lose pregnancy weight more quickly.
- It lowers the incidence of urinary tract infections and postpartum haemorrhage.
- It lowers the risk of postpartum depression by fostering an upbeat attitude.
- The likelihood of getting anaemia, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lupus, endometriosis, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular illnesses is lower.
- Breastfeeding increases the levels of calming chemicals like prolactin and oxytocin to lower stress.
- It boosts mothers’ self-esteem and confidence.
- Breastfeeding strengthens the physical and emotional relationship between mother and child due to skin-to-skin contact, which reduces behavioral and social issues in both infants and adults.
Benefits of breastfeeding for babies:
- Breastfeeding helps newborns develop stronger immune systems that guard them against catching diseases.
- It reduces the likelihood of a number of health issues, such as cough, pneumonia, gastroenteritis, constipation, diarrhea, and other respiratory illnesses.
- It gives infants greater vision and reduces the risk of retinopathy or prematurity.
- It lowers the possibility of infant mortality or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Allergies, leukemia, eczema, and asthma are all risks that are decreased by breastfeeding.
- It improves speech and orthodontic issues and also aids in lowering the chance of cavities in a child’s developing teeth.
- It promotes infants’ brain development.
WHO recommends that in order to achieve optimal growth, development, and health, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. After that, to meet their changing nutritional needs, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while continuing to be breastfed. Breastfeeding should last for at least two years.
The focus of #WBW2022 will be on building the capacity of those who must defend, support, and promote breastfeeding at all societal levels. The warm support system for nursing is made up of these individuals. Target audiences will get information, education, and empowerment to improve their capacity to offer and maintain breastfeeding-friendly environments for families in the post-pandemic world. These audiences include governments, health systems, workplaces, and communities.
Breastfeeding is essential to post-pandemic sustainable development plans because it boosts nutrition, guarantees food security, and lessens disparities between and within nations. The campaign’s topic area 1, which emphasizes the connections between breastfeeding and excellent nutrition, food security, and the reduction of disparities, is in line with the theme of the WBW-SDG 2030 campaign.