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World Breastfeeding Week 2017: Creating a Unified Voice

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 fourth 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). Read the other posts in this series here, here, and here.

WBW Theme #2: Survival, Health, and Well-being

Breastfeeding is a key contributor to the survival, health, and well-being of infants and families. Put simply, it provides babies with the best possible start in life. Urgent steps are needed to coordinate global action to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. Two successful models of this coordination are the global Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative (BAI) and Every Woman Every Child’s (EWEC) Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.

BAI was formed by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and 20 other prominent international agencies and non-governmental organizations in order to unify the voices of breastfeeding advocates and increase awareness of the importance of breastfeeding as a foundation of child and maternal survival, health, and well-being.

EWEC’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health is a global movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action by governments, multilaterals, the private sector, and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women, children, and adolescents around the world.

We know that when partners have a unified voice, political support can be gained. Advocacy is our most effective tool to secure the political, financial, and social support we need. Let’s advocate together to transform evidence into action for breastfeeding.

Steps to Success:

1. Join forces with other global, regional, or national initiatives for greater impact.

Find out what other groups or organizations are working toward similar goals as your own, and find out how you can support one another.

2. Advocate to decision-makers for greater political, financial, and social support.

Contact your representatives and tell them what resources you need from them. Visit the WBW website for explanations, graphics, and downloadable materials to enhance your understanding of the issues and enable you to make it clear to others.

3. Align your strategies and work plans with those of allies and partners.

4. Use latest evidence on the short- and long-term benefits of breastfeeding for your advocacy work.

  • The ILCA Knowledge Center helps you provide the most current and accurate information available by offering On Demand sessions of annual conference sessions, recorded webinars, and JHL modules.
  • Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) is the official journal of ILCA. It is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal publishing original research, insights in practice and policy, commentaries, and case reports relating to research and practice in human lactation and breastfeeding.

5. Advocate to your government to work towards the World Health Assembly (WHA) global target.

There is an agreed goal for all governments to prioritize the WHA global target for an increase in the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months up to at least 50% by the year 2025.


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 Survival, Health, and Well-Being, read this Lactation Matters post from our 2016 celebration.



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