World Breastfeeding Week is kicking off this week. The global network aims to protect, promote and support breastfeeding worldwide based on the Innocenti Declarations, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future, and the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding.
This year’s WBW theme is “Breastfeeding: A Key to Sustainable Development”, which provides a broad, relevant, and inclusive approach that enables the breastfeeding movement, and beyond, to connect with a variety of development issues over the next 15 years (through 2030) for maximum impact.
The following events will be organized for WBW.
• On August 2, an open house will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 8:000 p.m. at the National Park in Ulaanbaatar for pregnant women and parents interested in getting advice on proper ways to feed infants and young children.
• On August 3, parliamentarians will hold discussions on the impact of supporting parents with breastfeeding infants. Breastfeeding is considered the most effective and inexpensive way of saving a child’s life.
Children who are exclusively breastfed are believed to be 14 times more likely to survive the first six months of life than non-breastfed children. Starting breastfeeding on the first day after birth can reduce the risk of newborn death by up to 45 percent.
Breastfeeding advocates also believe that breastfeeding supports a child’s ability to learn and helps prevent obesity and chronic diseases later in life. Recent studies in the United States and United Kingdom point to large health care savings resulting from breastfeeding, given that breastfed children fall ill much less often than non-breastfed children.
In Mongolia, according to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2010 survey, approximately 66 percent of children under the age of five months were exclusively breastfed. In 2013, this figure dropped to less than 50 percent, concurrent to an increase in disease among children as well as high child mortality rates in that same year.