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  • 01 August, 2022

  • 12 Min Read



  • It is observed from 1st to 7th August 2022.

  • World Breastfeeding Week theme for 2022 is "Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support.
  • It is also the celebration of Motherhood and the healthy life of the newborn.
  • World breastfeeding week 2022 will focus on strengthening the capacity of actors that have to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding across different levels of society.
  • Government, health system, workplace, and communities will be informed, educated, and empowered to strengthen their capacity to provide and sustain breastfeeding-friendly environments in the post-pandemic world as said to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action.


World Breastfeeding Week was first celebrated in the year 1992.

Initially, just 70 countries participated in the celebration but now the number increased to 170 countries.

The objectives of World Breastfeeding Week are:

  • To create awareness among the parents about the breastfeeding
  • Must restore the breastfeeding support system to pre-pandemic levels and strengthen the capacity of this system to achieve the global nutrition target of 2025
  • To Encourage parents to adopt breastfeeding
  • Creating awareness about the importance of initiation and exclusive breastfeeding, and adequate & appropriate complementary feeding.
  • Providing advocacy material about the importance of breastfeeding.

Significance of Breastfeeding

  • It is one of the most nutritious foods for the baby as it contains lots of antibodies. These antibodies not only shape the immune system of newborn babies but also provide efficient protection against pathogens.
  • Increased breastfeeding could avert 20,000 maternal deaths each year due to breast cancer so it can reduce the risk of mothers developing diseases like breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease as said by the WHO.
  • By breastfeeding, a baby's chances of being overweight, obese, and prone to diabetes are comparatively lesser than the ones who aren't breastfed.
  • It promotes better health for mothers and children alike.
  • It prevents infections like diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections in early infancy and thus reduces infant mortality
  • It protects infants from obesity-related illnesses, and diabetes, and increases their IQ.

Norm for breastfeeding

  • Initiation of Breastfeeding within an hour of birth.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life which means only breast Milk 'NO' other milk, food, drink, or water.
  • Appropriate and adequate complementary feeding from six months of age while continuing breastfeeding.
  • Continued breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond.

Challenges for breastfeeding in India

  • Awareness about breast milk and early nutrition is very poor among new mothers.
  • Even experts maintain that inappropriate complementary feeding practices are having a significant impact on the nutritional status of children.
  • 6 out of 10 babies born in the country are not able to begin breastfeeding within one hour of birth due to C-section delay highlighted by The 5th Report of Assessment of India’s Policy and Programmes on Breastfeeding.

Government initiatives

MAA - Mothers Absolute Affection

It is a program of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to promote the system of breastfeeding and provides counselling services for supporting breastfeeding through health systems.

The program has been named ‘MAA’ to highlight the support a lactating mother requires from family members and health facilities to breastfeed successfully.

The objective of the program:

  • Build an enabling environment for breastfeeding through awareness generation activities, targeting pregnant and lactating mothers, family members, and society to promote optimal breastfeeding practices.
  • Breastfeeding is to be positioned as an important intervention for child survival and development.
  • Reinforce lactation support services at public health facilities through trained healthcare providers and skilled community health workers.
  • To incentivize and recognize those health facilities that show high rates of breastfeeding along with processes in place for lactation management

Vatsalya – Maatri Amrit Kosh- a National Human Milk Bank and Lactation Counselling Centre has been established in the Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC), Delhi. It has been established in collaboration with the Norwegian government, Oslo University under Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI).

Way forward

Breast milk cannot be substituted by any other milk so the culture of breastfeeding should be promoted by the government by empowering the key actor to raise awareness about breastfeeding.

The Promotion, protection, and support of breastfeeding must become an important activity of the health systems.


Source: The Hindu

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