This week is World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) calls for concerted global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work. Whether a woman is working in the formal, non-formal or home setting, it is necessary that she is empowered in claiming her and her baby’s right to breastfeed.
The WBW 2015 theme on working women and breastfeeding revisits the 1993 WBW campaign on the Mother-Friendly Workplace Initiative. Much has been achieved in 22 years of global action supporting women in combining breastfeeding and work, particularly the adoption of the revised ILO Convention 183 on Maternity Protection with much stronger maternity entitlements, and more country actions on improving national laws and practices. At the workplace level, we have also seen more actions taken to set up breastfeeding or mother-friendly workplaces including awards for breastfeeding-friendly employers, as well as greater mass awareness on working women’s rights to breastfeed.
The Innocenti Declaration (1990) recognized that breastfeeding provides ideal nutrition for infants and contributes to their healthy growth and development. There is much that remains to be done despite 25 years of hard work, particularly on the fourth Innocenti target that calls on governments to “…enact imaginative legislation protecting the breastfeeding rights of working women and establish means for its enforcement”.
With the WBW 2015 campaign, WABA and its partners at global, regional and national levels aim to empower and support ALL women, working in both the formal and informal sectors, to adequately combine work with child-rearing, particularly breastfeeding. (We define work in its broadest form from paid employment, self-employment, seasonal and contract work to unpaid home and care work).
BAMSI is proud to support pregnant and postpartum women across the Commonwealth through its’ Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Each WIC Program has talented, dedicated Lactation Consultants and/or Breastfeeding Coordinators who are dedicated to assisting new moms with this valuable, ideal and nutritious approach to feeding infants. BAMSI is also committed in supporting working women in our community from long-term actions to short-term actions. Together, we can make it work!