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World Breastfeeding Week 2009

Breastfeeding: A Vital Emergency Response. Are you ready?

The United States Breastfeeding Committee is proud to join its member organizations in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, organized each August 1-7 by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA).

Download USBC's flyer on Breastfeeding and Emergencies

Visit USBC's web page on Breastfeeding and Emergencies

Objectives

  • To draw attention to the vital role that breastfeeding plays in emergencies worldwide.
  • To stress the need for active protection and support of breastfeeding before and during emergencies.
  • To inform mothers, breastfeeding advocates, communities, health professionals, governments, aid agencies, donors, and the media on how they can actively support breastfeeding before and during an emergency.
  • To mobilize action and nurture networking and collaboration between those with breastfeeding skills and those involved in emergency response.

Rationale

  • Children are the most vulnerable in emergencies--child mortality can soar from 2 to 70 times higher than average due to diarrhea, respiratory illness, and malnutrition.
  • Breastfeeding is a life saving intervention and protection is greatest for the youngest infants. Even in non-emergency settings, non-breastfed babies under two months of age are six times more likely to die.
  • Emergencies can happen anywhere in the world. Emergencies destroy what is "normal," leaving caregivers struggling to cope and infants vulnerable to disease and death.
  • During emergencies, mothers need active support to continue or re-establish breastfeeding.
  • Emergency preparedness is vital. Supporting breastfeeding in non-emergency settings will strengthen mothers’ capacity to cope in an emergency.

Activities and Resources

International Lactation Consultant Association: WBW 2009

La Leche League in the USA: WBW 2009 Celebrations: "Breastfeeding: Prepared for Life"

National WIC Association: Action Ideas for WBW 2009

World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action: WBW 2009 Action Folder