World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until a baby is 6 months old. Nutritious complementary foods should then be added while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years or beyond.
This year, WHO is working with UNICEF and partners to promote the importance of helping mothers’ breastfeed their babies within that crucial first hour of life. Skin-to-skin contact along with suckling at the breast stimulate the production of breast milk, including colostrum, also called the baby’s ‘first vaccine’, which is extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies.