The first week of August (1st – 7th) is allocated for World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), the largest global vessel for breastfeeding outreach to increase support for nursing mothers. Just a few days into WBW, their efforts are clearly making an impact already.
The goal for the additional funding is to help deprived areas as well as hospitals achieve UNICEF Baby-Friendly status. The UNICEF Baby-Friendly initiative helps hospitals and community maternity facilities by implementing a set of ‘best practice’ standards, which has already helped increase breastfeeding rates in several other countries. It not only supports mothers to initiate breastfeeding, but also to lengthen breastfeeding duration through other initiatives such as peer support groups.
As Primarolo explains, by international standards UK women do not breastfeed enough and hopes the additional funds will increase both the number of women who breastfeed as well as breastfeeding duration. The funds at a community level follow other breastfeeding promotion initiatives this year such as the new National Breastfeeding Hotline and Breast Buddy; aimed at encouraging underserved women aged 16-25 to breastfeed. Currently, 78% of women in
The Baby-Friendly initiative educates mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding, trains staff to assist new mothers with breastfeeding, and ensures a new baby can stay with her mum 24 hours a day while in the hospital. The initiative also set the standards for breastfeeding support groups. Breast milk provides a baby with all the nutrients they need during the first months of life, in addition to providing increased immunity, decreased GI and ear infections, eczema reduction, and a decrease in rates of asthma and allergies.