World Breastfeeding Week, which runs from August 1-7, shines a light on the vital importance of nutrition in enabling every child to reach their full potential. It all starts with breastfeeding as the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need.
The first 1,000 days of human life, from conception to the age of two, are unique – the brain grows and develops at a pace never repeated for the rest of our lives. Nutrition during this crucial period has an impact not only on a baby’s short-term health but also on his or her long-term well-being and development.
World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7) highlights the importance of giving children the best start in life through breastfeeding, and draws attention to the vital need for optimal nutrition for mothers and infants. Promoted in more than 120 countries worldwide, the objectives of the week are to inform people about the link between breastfeeding and good nutrition, food security and poverty reduction, and to inspire action to advance breastfeeding rates. As part of this year’s initiative, the WHO is working with UNICEF and other partners to promote the importance of helping mothers to breastfeed their babies within the crucial first hour of life.
At RB, we believe that the optimal nutrition is key to ensuring children have the best possible start in life. We support the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) for exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond. This is actively shown through both our infant and child nutrition pledge and our breast-milk substitute marketing policy.
For mothers who are not able to or choose not to breastfeed, our team works every day to advance the science of pediatric nutrition, pursuing cutting-edge research and then efficiently and effectively transfer innovation into safe, high quality, science-based products that help meet the nutritional needs of mothers, infants and children.
In addition to our pledge, policy, and products, we are enabling our own women returning to work to continue breastfeeding by having dedicated breastfeeding spaces at every one of our workplaces by the end of the year. Research shows that paid maternity leave also increases rates of breastfeeding, and so we offer 16 weeks paid maternity leave globally, with the option of a further 36 weeks unpaid. We also support breastfeeding initiatives as part of our Save a Child Every Minute initiative in Nigeria, India and Pakistan where we know breastfeeding contributes to the reduction of diseases like diarrhoea.
World Breastfeeding Week is an important part of increasing understanding and awareness of the role of breastfeeding in providing the highest quality nutrition for children. To find out more, visit worldbreastfeedingweek.org