This content originally appeared on the Healthy Newborn Network website.
Enabling women around the world to breastfeed can lower health care costs and improve the health of families and communities. Women who wish to breastfeed should have the right to do so with comprehensive support from their families, communities, employers, and governments. Yet, every country faces challenges in providing adequate breastfeeding support whether it be a lack of skilled breastfeeding counseling to resolve breastfeeding challenges early or inadequate maternity leave and/or workplace policies in the formal and informal sector. To galvanize action, the Global Breastfeeding Collective (the Collective), led by UNICEF and WHO, has brought together 20 international organizations to increase financial investment and drive policy change to better support women and increase breastfeeding rates worldwide.
This month’s launch of the Collective’s Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit marks the release of an important online resource that stakeholders can use to advocate for the Collective’s seven policy actions globally and at the country level. This resource is for policy makers and country governments seeking information and tools to advocate for strengthening the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding, whether at the national or subnational (i.e. district) level. The Toolkit features sections on general advocacy guidance, country experience and tools, key policies and guidelines and global evidence for breastfeeding. Guidebooks, advocacy briefs, educational videos, and case studies as well as resources in multiple languages are available. The Collective calls on implementers and donors from governments, philanthropies, international organizations, civil society to increase awareness and advocacy around the following seven policy actions:
- Increase funding to raise breastfeeding rates from birth through two years
- Fully implement the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions through strong legal measures that are enforced and independently monitored by organizations free from conflicts of interest.
- Enact paid family leave and workplace breastfeeding policies, building on the International Labour Organization’s maternity protection guidelines as a minimum requirement, including provisions for the informal sector.
- Implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in maternity facilities, including providing breastmilk for sick and vulnerable newborns.
- Improve access to skilled breastfeeding counselling as part of comprehensive breastfeeding policies and programmes in health facilities.
- Strengthen links between health facilities and communities, and encourage community networks that protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.
- Strengthen monitoring systems that track the progress of policies, programmes, and funding towards achieving both national and global breastfeeding targets.
For any questions regarding the toolkit, please contact [email protected].