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World Breastfeeding Week 2017: Working Together Across Sectors and Generations

The 2017 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) theme is Sustaining Breastfeeding Together. This year’s theme celebrates working together for the common good, which produces sustainable results, greater than the sum of our individual efforts. Join International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) and World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) in observing WBW 1-7 August 2017.

This post is the third in a series of #WBW2017 posts offering information and resources to help you celebrate and support breastfeeding, while working toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

WBW Theme #1: Nutrition, Food Security, and Poverty Reduction

Breastfeeding is a vital part of sustainable development and a non-negotiable component of global action to end malnutrition. Increased rates of exclusive and continued breastfeeding can only be achieved by cooperating and collaborating across sectors and generations. Fortunately, the importance of working in partnership is increasingly recognized as a critical factor and incorporated into many global initiatives.

We must advocate that governments, in partnership with civil-society movements and others working for the common good, create environments that allow women and children to thrive. We must also focus our efforts on young people and vulnerable groups, such as adolescents, single mothers, and migrants. Breastfeeding is not just a woman’s issue or the sole responsibility of women; the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding is a collective, societal responsibility shared by us all.

Steps to Success:

1. Advocate for breastfeeding to be positioned as a vital part of the Sustainable Development Goals by demonstrating its link to as many of the SDGs as possible.

WABA offers several resources to better understand the connection between breastfeeding and each of the SDGs.

2. Adopt a multi-sectoral approach to breastfeeding advocacy and implementation of programs by engaging nutrition, health, labor, and finance advocates in the work.

Take a look at the models set by Women Deliver in their Deliver for Good campaign and Every Woman Every Child’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, which recognize that cross-collaboration is fundamental in achieving the SDGs. The campaigns place access to good nutrition as a central recommendation. Breastfeeding is included as a target to ensure maternal and child survival, health and nutrition.

3. Use the Return on Investment case as an advocacy tool targeting decision-makers.

4. Work together to adopt and implement effective nutrition policies to position nutrition and breastfeeding as basic human rights.

5. Ensure that breastfeeding is included in nutrition programs in both urban and rural communities.


To learn more about how breastfeeding is linked to each of the SDGs in the four thematic areas, read this Lactation Matters post from our 2016 celebration.

For more on how breastfeeding is linked to the theme of Nutrition, Food Security, and Poverty Reduction, read this Lactation Matters post from our 2016 celebration.

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