World Breastfeeding Week
What is World Breastfeeding Week?
August 1-7 1995 is the fourth annual World Breastfeeding
Week. The date marks the anniversary of the Innocenti Declaration,
and provides an excellent opportunity for all concerned to join
in world wide celebration and action. World Breastfeeding Week
was initiated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA),
a global umbrella organization initiated by UNICEF.
want to do the best for their babies and most will choose to breastfeed
and can do so, if they have adequate support, correct information,
and are free from various obstacles.
Empowering women to breastfeed gives women the ability to act
and the right to do so. A conducive breastfeeding environment
is one that ensures that women have the right to correct information
to make informed choices, the right to legal protection and social
support for breastfeeding in public and at work, and the right
to skilled counselling and sympathetic support.
World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7 1995, focused on ways
a community can help women secure these rights. Family members,
hospitals, schools, public places, government and private workplace,
the media, the courts, women's organizations, development organizations,
everyone has an active role in supporting breastfeeding.
1995 Theme - Breastfeeding: Empowering Women
How does breastfeeding empower women?
- Breastfeeding reduces a mother's economic and medical dependance.
- Breastfeeding diminishes the power of commercial interests
to manipulate in the advertising of breastmilk substitutes.
- Breastfeeding confirms a woman's power to control her own
body - breastfeeding challenges the established medical models
and business interests that promote bottle feeding
- Breastfeeding confirms a woman's unique ability to care for
her infant in the best way possible.
- Breastfeeding challenges the view of breasts as merely sex
- Breastfeeding promotes optimum infant and maternal health.
This year's theme, "Empowering Women" touches on
many issues including;
- Women and work
- Human rights and breastfeeding anywhere
- Poverty, economic and food security issues. Purchasing artificial
baby milk can consume 20-90% of a family income - this figure
does not include the health costs of artificial feeding.
- Reproductive health - breastfeeding reduces the incidence
of certain cancers such as breast, and ovarian
- Around the world breastfeeding is the most commonly used
form of birth control and can be 98% effective
- The need for community support
- The right to accurate information
Why aren't women being told that...
- Breastfeeding results in 27.3% reduction in absenteeism and
a 35.7% reduction in health care claims (Cohen, 1994)
- In New York the total cost for hospital treatment of bottle
fed infants for the first four months was 15 times higher than
for breastfed infants (IBFAN, 1988)
- For every three million bottle fed babies, 450 million tonnes
of formula is used. The resulting 70,000 tonnes of metal in the
form of discarded tins is not recycled in the developed countries
- Breastfeeding averts about six million deaths annually (Nurture,
- Breastfeeding reduces the incidence of breast and ovarian
cancers (Kennedy, 1994)
- The Lactational Ammenorrhea Method (LAM) is 98% effective
as a method of family planning.
- Women have the right to accurate information and societal
The Goals of World Breastfeeding Week 1995
- To raise awareness that the right to motherhood, including
breastfeeding, is an important women's issue.
- To sensitize communities and encourage them to be active
in supporting breastfeeding
- To link breastfeeding with national and international activities
for the World Conference on Women in Beijing September 1995.
Contact INFACT Canada for more
information. See Also the Internet
To order Breastfeeding Empowers
Women Information Kit INFACT also has Breastfeeding Empowers
Women T-shirts available in a variety of colours.
British Columbia Human Rights Commission Policy and Procedure Manual
Breastfeeding Empowers Women
Provincial Human Rights Commissions
Breastfeeding in Public
Women on the frontlines
Michelle Poirier versus the BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Canada’s “Baby’s right to eat” and “Breastfeeding Convict Baby” posters*
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