Breastfeeding your baby is such a natural, simple act, but its many health and social benefits are too often overlooked. Thankfully, many wonderful organizations are working to raise awareness about nursing during World Breastfeeding Week. So when is World Breastfeeding Week 2018, and what are the goals for this year's event? This important week will give nursing moms everywhere a morale boost.
From August 1 to 7, World Breastfeeding Week 2018 will take place, as noted on the organization's official website. This year's theme is "Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life." The objectives of this week are to inform everyone about the nutritional and social benefits of breastfeeding infants, as well as remove the stigma surrounding breastfeeding in general. World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is a weeklong campaign that promotes breastfeeding as a way to combat malnutrition, food insecurity, and chronic diseases, as noted by the WBW's 2018 press release. Thanks to its lifelong benefits, breastfeeding may be a crucial component for sustainable development in many communities.
World Breastfeeding Week is supported by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, a global network dedicated to supporting and promoting breastfeeding worldwide. Additional partners for World Breastfeeding Week include La Leche League International, United Nations Children's Fund, World Health Organisation, and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. Basically, some highly respected organizations also support this movement to normalize and advocate breastfeeding.
The facts and statistics supporting breastfeeding are kind of mind-blowing, to be honest. For instance, breastfed babies had a 21 percent decreased risk of death in their first year compared to peers who were never nursed, as noted by the World Breastfeeding Week's press release. This was based on information about children in low and medium income countries. Plus, a mother's nutritional status does not affect the quality of milk production, except in cases of extreme malnutrition, as further noted by the WBW's press release. Only about 1 percent of women worldwide meet this qualification. For most babies in most parts of the world, breastfeeding can provide tremendous nutritional and even economic benefits. Hey, saving some money on infant formula is a helpful move for most any family.
That said, plenty of influential people and organizations already recognize the tremendous health and social benefits advanced by breastfeeding. "If breastfeeding did not already exist, someone who invented it today would deserve a dual Nobel Prize in medicine and economics," said Keith Hansen of The World Bank in a 2016 edition of The Lancet. As Hansen argued, breastfeeding not only inoculates children against disease and malnutrition, but it also increases the cognitive and social abilities of people in general. That's a ringing endorsement.
So how can you get involved in World Breastfeeding Week to help spread the good news about nursing? Posting to your favorite site is one option. Review the #WBW2018 social media kit to find awesome infographics, GIFs, and more you can post, or interact with the campaign directly on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. To get more involved, host an event and pledge help to #WBW2018. Basically, spreading WABA's positive information about breastfeeding any way you can is a great way to honor World Breastfeeding Week.