World breastfeeding week takes place from August 1st to August 7th every year. WORLD ALLIANCE OF BREASTFEEDING ACTION (WABA) in collaboration with WHO and UNICEF promotes breastfeeding week every year. There is a theme every year to raise awareness about certain factors that inhibit success in exclusive breast milk and the theme for this year is Making a difference to working parents. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended till 6 months and to continue breastfeeding till 2 years with complementary feeds. Exclusive breastfeeding helps in the growth and development of the child, reducing infections, lowering the incidence of allergies, provides greater cognitive function. It also improves mothers’ health by decreasing the incidence of breast cancers and ovarian cancers,
There are an increasing number of working women of childbearing age. WHO has noticed that though early breastfeeding was started in the first hour of birth it was discontinued at 2 to 3 months. This was due to barriers at the workplace, returning to work earlier, full-time work, short breastfeeding duration, minimal workplace support, and inadequate facilities at the workplace. Exclusive breast feed can be increased if there is Breastfeeding friendly workplace policy.
Governments, workplaces and community should aid in facilitating extended breastfeeding. The paid maternity leave for women should be extended to 6 months. Provision of lactation rooms with all facilities, paid time offs for breastfeeding, Breast pumping breaks for employees to express breastfeed, flexible work adjustment, reduced workload, should be facilitated at workplaces. Exclusive Breastfeeding is easier when the workplace provides support and dedicated time and space to breastfeed or express milk, therefore Companies should steps up to support mothers.