World Breastfeeding Week, August 2017

World Breastfeeding Week, August 2017

The first week of August marks World Breastfeeding Week. 2017 celebrates the initiative’s 25th year, and the theme this year is about working together for the common good.

On August 1st the World Health Organisation (WHO) presented a news release stating that “No country in the world fully meets recommended standards for breastfeeding” on average, only 40% of children are exclusively breastfeed under 6 months of age.

Breastfeeding is known to significantly improve the health, development and survival of infants and children. It also contributes to improved health and wellbeing of mothers, both in the short and long term.

There are several sustainable development goals met as a consequence of breastfeeding. It contributes to poverty reduction as it provides a natural and low-cost way of feeding that does not burden household budgets. Breastfeeding promotes learning as it significantly contributes toward mental and cognitive development. Breastfeeding also has a positive impact on the environment; it entails less waste compared to formula feeding where industrial production and distribution creates refuse and pollution.

Photo: Johnny Bugeja

This week, in Gibraltar, amendments to the Equal Opportunities Act 2006 have been made official; they support and protect mothers who breastfeed their children in public places, and make it discriminatory for businesses or establishments not to permit breastfeeding.  These changes took place in conjunction with the ‘Big Latch On’ event run by the Gibraltar Breastfeeding Association (on Saturday 5th August); any soon-to-be or breastfeeding mothers were welcomed to support the event, acquire more information and raise awareness.