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World Breastfeeding Week: August 1-7

United Nations pamphlet cover.

This week is world Breastfeeding Week across the globe. It is sponsored and promoted by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). The 2014 theme asserts the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding referencing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) countdown, and beyond.

To help spread information worldwide a brochure has been developed by WHO and UNICEF to help new and pending mothers gain knowledge and support to successfully breastfeed their infants. The goals are to advocate, strengthen and promote breastfeeding to more women.

Two additional goals for 2014 are to showcase the closing of gaps in breastfeeding knowledge around the world, and to promote relevancy of breastfeeding to both genders, so women can have the support of the men in their lives to breastfeed their babies.
Breastfeeding is linked to the MDGs in several ways to promote healthy growth of children:

*Breastfeeding for two years can provide quality nutrients and energy and stop or slow malnutrition and starvation, especially in developing countries.

*Breastfeeding and complimentary nutrition can help children’s brains develop so they are ready to learn when they reach school age and before.

*Breastfeeding promotes gender equality, giving both male and female infants an equal start in life with equal nutrition from breast milk.

*Breastfeeding can reduce child and infant mortality, especially when healthy complimentary foods are introduced at appropriate ages. Estimates range up to 50-60% for under 5 children.

*Breastfeeding improves maternal health, helping new mothers recover from birth complications and reducing the risk of many types of female cancers.

*Breastfeeding, along with medical intervention, can greatly reduce the risk and passage of several diseases, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.

*Breastfeeding promotes environmental sustainability, decreases milk waste, decreases use of plastic and aluminum waste, and reduces use of fossil fuels.

*Breastfeeding and nutrition education promotes inter-agency and industry growth d can even help provide jobs as education improves demand for healthier living quality.

Find out more here.

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