What Is Exclusive Breastfeeding?
5 August 2021
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ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN

This year, for WBW 2021, WABA has selected the theme: Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility. The theme is aligned with thematic area 2 of the WBW-SDG 2030 campaign which highlights the links between breastfeeding and survival, health and wellbeing of women, children and nations.

WABA states that this year’s objectives are to:

Inform people about the importance of protecting breastfeeding.
Anchor breastfeeding support as a vital public health responsibility.
Engage with individuals and organizations for greater impact.
Galvanize action on protecting breastfeeding to improve public health.

Pregnancy and lactation are an especially vulnerable time for working women and their families. Expectant and nursing mothers require special protection to prevent harm to their or their infants’ health, and they need adequate time to give birth, to recover, and to nurse their children. At the same time, they also require protection to ensure that their jobs are not jeopardized because of pregnancy or maternity leave.

Maternity Protection is key to enable breastfeeding and empower parents for a successful implementation of recommended breastfeeding practices. PAHO/WHO recommends that countries must implement and reenforce the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes at all levels. It is vital to ensure that breastfeeding mothers do not get targeted by the industry, marketing or public health professional who want to jeopardize their breastfeeding by promoting formula-feeding

BREASTFEEDING DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

PAHO/WHO continue to recommend that standard infant feeding guidelines be adhered to during the COVID-19 pandemic. The standard infant feeding guidelines are:

Initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth,
Exclusive breastfeeding until babies are six months old, and
Continued breastfeeding along with nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, until age two years old or beyond.

The benefits of breastfeeding and nurturing mother-infant interaction to prevent infection and promote health and development are especially important when health and other community services are themselves disrupted or limited

Mothers and infants should be supported to remain together, and practice skin-to-skin contact and/or kangaroo care whether or not they or their infants have suspected, probable, or confirmed COVID-19 virus infection.

Breastfeeding counseling, basic psychosocial support, and practical feeding support should be provided to all pregnant women and mothers with infants and young children…

Source : WHO/ PAHO

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