Global Theme- “Mother Support: Going for the Gold”.
In India, the World Breastfeeding Week from 1-7 August 2008 is finding new ways to accelerate gains in infant feeding and survival, by popularizing mother support to help mothers achieve the gold standards of infant feeding - using the global theme “Mother Support: Going for the Gold”.
World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2008 is an opportunity to mobilize families, community groups and health and child care service providers to support mothers in practicing these key behaviours.
This is the Year of Olympics. Like an athlete, a breastfeeding woman also needs support from many quarters to achieve a gold standard.
OBJECTIVES OF WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK 2008
• To expand awareness of the need for and the value of providing support to a breastfeeding mother.
• To disseminate updated information about support for breastfeeding mothers.
• To launch public action and demand for the provision of mother support.
In the WBW 2008, those who support breastfeeding women will be winning medals, and a GOLD medal will go to the best effort in supporting women.
In India, the Infant Milk Substitutes and its Amendment Act 2003 and National Guidelines on Infant and Young Child Feeding 2006 provide powerful policy instruments to protect, promote and support optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding practices.
These are in harmony with the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding and the HIV and Infant Feeding – Framework For Priority Action.
Optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding contributes to fulfilling children’s rights to survival, growth and development, contributing towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals to reduce poverty and hunger and improve the nutrition and health of children and women.
What is Mother Support ?
Mother Support: “Any support provided to mothers for the purpose of improving breastfeeding practices. . . .”
– WABA Global Initiative for Mother Support (GIMS) 2007
Women Need Support for:
• Women themselves should be healthy and well nourished, to be successful in breastfeeding. They need support during pregnancy, at birth, and during lactation, whether they work inside homes or outside;
• A kind and skilled health worker must support women at the time of birth to succeed beginning breastfeeding within an hour of birth and prolonged skin-to-skin contact;
• Further they should have access to Counseling (one to one or group) and support to continue exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months;
• They need answers to their questions and solutions to their problems like sore nipples, mastitis, engorgement (around 13 percent);
• Women need counseling for adequate complementary feeding and continued breastfeeding at completion of 6 months; and
• Finally if women are HIV positive, they need counseling for infant feeding options.
UNICEF and WHO have joined the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and international NGO partners, and its affiliates in 120 countries in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, 1-7 August 2008.
In India, the observance of the World Breastfeeding Week 2008 builds on the momentum generated by a recent meeting on Revisiting the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, extending from hospitals to health centres and communities, organized by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with WHO and UNICEF collaboration.
This called for according priority to promoting early and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, integrating baby friendly criteria in quality health care standards, recognizing infant and young child feeding counseling as a distinct service, and mobilizing convergent action by the Integrated Child Development Services and the National Rural Health Mission and other partners.
Starting right with ensuring early initiation in all institutional deliveries is seen as an action priority.
On the eve of World Breastfeeding Week 2008, Dr. Loveleen Kacker IAS, Joint Secretary Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, reinforced the top priority being accorded to promoting early and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, as a critical intervention for preventing young child undernutrition, and accelerating young child survival and development in the Eleventh Plan.
She emphasized that supporting mothers through skilled Infant and Young Child Feeding counseling and communication initiatives is an integral part of this major endeavour.