The objectives of this years week are:
- To increase attention to the contribution of the Ten Steps to exclusive breasfeeding
- To revitalise activities within health systems, and among healthcare providers and communities to support women to achieve their breastfeeding intentions.
- To inform people everywhere that protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding is a mother’s right, a child’s right, and a human right.
- To enable women and all who care about human rights to fight for health care systems which support breastfeeding.
- To ensure that health workers who care for mothers and babies are adequately trained to counsel and support them in optimal infant feeding.
- Health care facilities play a vital role in the establishment of breastfeeding.
- The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding provide a supportive pathway enabling women to achieve their breastfeeding intentions and guiding the training of healthcare workers in breastfeeding support.
- World Breastfeeding Week this year commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Innocenti Declaration that called for implementation of the Ten Steps in all maternity facilities.
- During these 20 years, more than 20,000 maternities, or about 28% of all maternities in the world, have fully implemented the Ten Steps and have been certified by the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI).
- During this time, rates of exclusive breastfeeding have increased significantly. However, reduced BFHI programming worldwide, inadequate training, and weakened compliance with the Ten Steps in accredited maternities are contributing to stagnant or declining exclusive breastfeeding rates in many settings.
- It is time to revisit this approach and to determine where we must go from here.