1– 7 August: World Breastfeeding Week being celebrated

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is being observed throughout world from 1-7 August 2019 in more than 120 countries with themeEmpower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding. Focus of this year is on protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding.

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW)

Background: WBW was first inaugurated in 1991 and was 1st celebrated in 1992 by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA).

As of 2019 it is now observed in over 120 countries by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO) and their partners including individuals, organizations, and governments. WABA was established on 1991 with goal to re-establish a global breastfeeding culture and provide support for breastfeeding everywhere.


To encourage parents to adopt breastfeeding

To create awareness among parents about breastfeeding

To create awareness about importance of initiation and exclusive breastfeeding, and adequate and appropriate complementary feeding

To provide advocacy material about importance of breastfeeding

Celebrations in India

This year Food and Nutrition Board under Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, is organizing a number of activities to celebrate WBW with focus on protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding.

Activities: such as Annaprashan Ceremony of babies at anganwadi centres by collecting beneficiaries from adjoining anganwadi centres and Quiz competition on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) are being conducted in 30 States and Union Territories (UT’s) through 43 Community Food and Nutrition Extension Units of Food and Nutrition Board. Conference for lactating mothers and anganwadi workers are also being organized to create awareness about importance of breastfeeding.

This involves participation from State functionaries of Health Department, Home Science Colleges, Medical Institutes, Universities, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) and other stakeholders.

Exhibitions will also be organized at grassroots level on nutrition, displaying low cost nutritious diets for infants and young children.

Awareness generation programmes on-

Healthy eating, importance of maintaining hygiene and sanitation will be held for pregnant and lactating mothers at village level through dance and drama, puppet shows, skits, films, slide shows, AV Spots and rallies.

Why is Breastfeeding important?

It promotes better health for both mothers as well as children.

It prevents infections such as diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections in early infancy and thus help in reducing infant mortality.

It decreases risk of mothers developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

It protects infants from obesity-related illnesses, diabetes and increases IQ.


The important nutrition intervention through observance of week-long celebration of Breastfeeding will help in breaking vicious cycle of malnutrition and aid Government to achieve National Nutrition Goals and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030. As per World Health Organisation (WHO), increasing breastfeeding to near-international levels will help in saving more than 8 lakh lives every year, majority of it being children under 6 months.


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