Breast Feeding Initiatives

In response to concerns about the use of infant formula in environments where lack of breast feeding resulted in large numbers of infant who became severely ill or died, a grassroots global initiative took hold in the 1970s to promote international and national efforts to protect, promote, and support breast feeding. These efforts culminated in 1981 with the nearly unanimous adoption by the World Health Assembly (WHA) of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes. This document and subsequent relevant WHA resolutions, collectively known as the Code, provide guidelines for the marketing of breast milk substitutes, bottles, and teats. To ensure infant feeding decisions free from the influence of marketing pressures, the Code provides guidelines on a number of issues associated with increases in formula feeding, including direct promotion to the public, donations to health care institutions, free supplies to mothers, and the use of baby images on labels that glorify bottle feeding. Its implementation is monitored by a 2-year reporting cycle by countries to the WHA and by the International Code Documentation Centre in Penang, Malaysia. Despite continued violations by infant food companies and the lack of enforcement in many developed countries, the Code has provided an important tool for regulating and monitoring the infant food industry to ensure that its marketing practices do not undermine breast feeding.

The 1990 Innocenti Declaration, which set four operational targets that all governments should achieve by 1995, was endorsed by the 45th WHA. These targets included appointment of a national breast feeding coordinator and establishment of a multisectoral national breast feeding committee; ensuring that all health facilities providing maternity services fully practice the 10 steps to successful breast feeding (Table 1) set out in the WHO/UNICEF statement; taking action to give effect to the Code; and enacting imaginative legislation to protect the breast feeding rights of working women. This declaration provided the basis for the WHO/UNICEF Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), which was developed in 1991, piloted in 12 countries, and inaugurated as a global initiative in 1992. BFHI promotes hospital practices consistent with early initiation, an environment conducive to BF, appropriate clinical management of BF, and compliance

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

For many years, scientists have been playing out the ingredients that make breast milk the perfect food for babies. They've discovered to day over 200 close compounds to fight infection, help the immune system mature, aid in digestion, and support brain growth - nature made properties that science simply cannot copy. The important long term benefits of breast feeding include reduced risk of asthma, allergies, obesity, and some forms of childhood cancer. The more that scientists continue to learn, the better breast milk looks.

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