Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

World Breastfeeding Week 1-7 August 2010

1-7 August 2010

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August in more than 120 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. Breastfeeding is the best way to provide newborns with the nutrients they need. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.

The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2010 is "Just 10 Steps! The Baby-Friendly Way". The Ten Steps were developed by WHO/UNICEF and first published in 1989 as the Joint Statement on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding: The special role of the Maternity Services. The Innocenti Declaration in 1990 called upon the world to fully implement the Ten Steps in all maternities by 1995. Twenty years later, more than 152 countries have Baby-friendly hospitals that have implemented the Ten Steps and relevant parts of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

TEN STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL BREASTFEEDING

  • Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  • Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  • Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  • Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within half an hour of birth.
  • Show mothers how to breastfeed, and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
  • Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
  • Practise "rooming in" – allow mothers and infants to remain together – 24 hours a day.
  • Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  • Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
  • Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

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