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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.

Mother breastfeeding and daughter breastfeeding dollWomen 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 objects.
  • 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 (Palmer, 1988).
  • Breastfeeding averts about six million deaths annually (Nurture, 1992)
  • 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 support.

The Goals of World Breastfeeding Week 1995

  1. To raise awareness that the right to motherhood, including breastfeeding, is an important women's issue.
  2. To sensitize communities and encourage them to be active in supporting breastfeeding
  3. 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 Resources

To order Breastfeeding Empowers Women Information Kit INFACT also has Breastfeeding Empowers Women T-shirts available in a variety of colours.

Related links


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

ORDER: INFACT Canada’s “Baby’s right to eat” and “Breastfeeding Convict Baby” posters*


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