Breastfeeding: Policy Matters

The health outcomes of breastfeeding and the risks of not breastfeeding for infants, mothers, families and society are well established. In high-, middle- and low-income countries, breastfeeding promotes optimal mental and physical development and prevents disease for women and babies. The impact of breastfeeding on child survival is substantial, while the economic benefits for both families and countries are significant.

However, breastfeeding is too often siloed within nutrition or infant and young child feeding (IYCF) agendas. Breastfeeding is not just about improving child nutrition, important though that is. Breastfeeding cuts across health, education, social protection, child protection, trade and commerce portfolios and, as such, is everybody’s responsibility.

This report presents the findings of six country case studies – Bangladesh, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines and the UK – which aimed to explore the role of global and national organisations in influencing political will to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. Each case study comprised a desk review; telephone interviews with key informants from global organisations; and an online survey of national organisations. The findings can be used by global organisations to identify opportunities that may further assist them in their efforts to influence political commitment to breastfeeding at the national level.

Published 2015-09-03

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