The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network of individuals
& organisations concerned with the protection, promotion & support of breastfeeding worldwide.
WABA action is based on the Innocenti Declaration, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future and the
Global Strategy for Infant & Young Child Feeding. WABA is in consultative status with UNICEF & an NGO
in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).


What is the WBW?

The World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is WABA's main global campaign for social mobilisation to generate public awareness and support for breastfeeding. WBW has the greatest outreach for the breastfeeding movement, involving over 120 countries.

When is the WBW?

WBW is celebrated the world over on 1-7 August. However, some countries that found the dates unsuitable for their countries observe the week in different time of the year. If you are not sure when WBW is celebrated in your country, please contact the breastfeeding group nearest to you.

What is this year's theme for the WBW?

Breastfeeding can be a means to promote and protect the health of both mother and baby.  For the mother, breastfeeding can reduce her risk for post-partum blood loss, various infectious diseases, breast and ovarian cancer, iron deficiency anemia, and even death.  For the baby, breastfeeding is a vital factor in preventing common illnesses, including diarrhoea, and respiratory tract (including pneumonia), ear, and urinary tract infections. For both, the act of breastfeeding is an essential component of learning how to mother, to providing good child care, and to contributing to healthy growth and psychosocial development.  

The road to realizing these benefits, however, is not always smooth.  Breastfeeding works best when mothers are:  

  • healthy, having a nutritious diet and access to personal health care able to receive health care services during and after pregnancy 
  • informed about good health practices for themselves and their babies, including the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life and the appropriate use of complementary foods thereafter 
  • able to give birth in a respectful and supportive environment with minimal interference unless medically necessary 
  • supported after birth in maintaining appropriate breastfeeding practices 
  • able to space their births and plan their families 
  • aware of commercial forces which undermine breastfeeding.  
Even when obstacles arise, breastfeeding can often be maintained with the understanding and support of a mother's critical network of family, friends, and health care providers.   However, increasing urbanization and dislocation of the extended family have weakened these mechanisms of social support.  Rising numbers of hospital-based births have turned birthing practices into medicalised, high-tech and drug-reliant experiences, which often also undermine breastfeeding.  

This year's WBW theme, Breastfeeding: Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies, underscores the urgent need to protect, promote, and support the health and well-being of mothers as well as the need to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding, for healthier babies and children. 

Click here to read our ACTION FOLDER

What are the WBW 2002 goals?

  • To reinstate breastfeeding as an integral part of  women's reproductive cycle and health 
  • To create awareness of women's right to humane and non-interventive birthing practices  
  • To promote the Global Initiative on Mother Support (GIMS), as a means to strengthen the  multitude of ways in supporting breastfeeding  

How can I organize the WBW in my country?

WBW experiences in various countries have shown that better results are achieved and more people are involved when activities are well planned, organized and coordinated. The actions described here can be carried out in your neighborhood, your city, your state or even your country. Wherever you are, it is important to plan ahead! 

Start acting now!

  • Collect information at the local, regional and/or national level on women's health: 
    • Greatest barriers to a healthy pregnancy  
    • Important issues for a safe and informed birth experience 
    • Resources and services for postnatal medical and social care, such as family planning and mother-to-mother support 
    • Worksite conditions impacting pregnancy, maternity leave, breastfeeding, and maternal working conditions 
    • Resources for helping women and families improve and maintain their health 
  • Organize a 'best practices' seminar on childbirth, breastfeeding, and women's health for families, health care providers, lawmakers/government officials, and health care payors  
  • Disseminate information on deficiencies, adequacies, and superiorities in breastfeeding and women's health protection, promotion and support. 
  • Organize to improve family-centred maternity care through 
    • increased access to appropriate services, 
    • education on the impacts of over-medicalised birth practices 
    • healthy lifestyles for the family 
    • suitable birth spacing methods 
  • Analyze current institutional programs for prenatal care, intrapartum, and postpartum services and breastfeeding; measure costs and suggest strategies to reduce expenditures while improving patient care and satisfaction.  

How can I participate in WBW? 

Click here to read our suggestions to build an action plan. 

WBW International Coordination:  WABA Secretariat.

Come back soon to read more information about this WBW year's theme in English and other languages!

World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action
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