The theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is all about the importance of building multi-level partnerships to work together to support and protect breastfeeding and achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The final Sustainable Development Goal, number 17, calls for cross sectoral and innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve sustainable development.
Research has shown that the most effective way to improve breastfeeding rates is to implement policies and programmes at every level, from hospital to home and community, with support available from health professionals, peer supporters, friends, families and society.
One of the main WBTI recommendations outlines how this could be led from the top in the UK:
A national sustainable Strategy Board, including representatives from all the voluntary groups, health professional organisations, and NGOs to share best practice between devolved nations coordinated by a high level funded lead specialist.
A good breastfeeding journey for a family begins with birth in a Baby Friendly accredited hospital, and continues at home, surrounded by supportive family and friends, with easy access to skilled health professionals and mother support groups in the community. Once they return to work, mothers are supported by their employers to continue to breastfeed as long as they wish. Legislation protects families from misleading marketing by the baby feeding industry, and ensures safe and high quality breastmilk substitutes are available for those babies who need them.
A strong partnership between all sectors is essential to supporting families throughout their journey. The WBTi project was centred around building a strong partnership between organisations and agencies involved in maternal and infant health in order to monitor and assess the UK’s implementation of key infant feeding policies and programmes. The decision-making Core Group was responsible for determining the gaps and recommendations for the WBTi report and its member organisations had to be free from conflict of interest with regard to funding from the formula, baby food, bottle and teat industries. Organisations covering the full spectrum of maternal and infant health were invited to participate in the wider WBTi consultation.
Together, we can build a better future for Britain’s babies.
The WBTi Core Group
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers https://abm.me.uk/
Baby Feeding Law Group www.babyfeedinglawgroup.org.uk/
Baby Milk Action www.babymilkaction.org/
Best Beginnings www.bestbeginnings.org.uk/
Breastfeeding Network www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/
Child and Maternal Health Observatory www.herc.ox.ac.uk/downloads/health_datasets/browse-data-sets/child-and-maternal-health-observatory-chimat
Department of Health www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health
First Steps Nutrition www.firststepsnutrition.org/
Institute of Health Visiting ihv.org.uk/
Lactation Consultants of Great Britain www.lcgb.org/
La Leche League GB www.laleche.org.uk/
Maternity Action www.maternityaction.org.uk/
Northern Ireland infant feeding lead
National Infant Feeding Network www.unicef.org.uk
Public Health England www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england
Scotland Maternal and Infant Nutrition Coordinator www.gov.scot/
Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/
Other organisations who participated in the WBTi consultation
British Dietetic Association. https://www.bda.uk.com
Cabinet Office https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/cabinet-office
Department of Health http://www.gov.uk
General Medical Council http://www.gmc-uk.org
General Pharmaceutical Council https://www.pharmacyregulation.org
Nursing and Midwifery Council https://www. nmc.org.uk
Public Health Agency Northern Ireland www.publichealth.hscni.net/
Public Health Scotland http://www.gov.scot/
Public Health Wales http://www.wales.nhs.uk/
Royal College of General Practitioners http://www.rcgp.org.uk
Royal College of Midwives http://www.rcm.org.uk
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health https://www.rcpch.ac.uk
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists http://www.rcog.org.uk
Unite, the Union of Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association www.unitetheunion.org/
U K Standing Conference on Specialist Community Public Health Nurse Education
The Lancet Series on Breastfeeding concluded that breastfeeding is the responsibility of all of society, not just the individual woman. http://www.thelancet.com/series/breastfeeding
It takes a village to raise a child………so says the African proverb.
UK Shadow Health Minister Jon Ashworth recently said ‘Children’s health is central to improving wellbeing and economic status of a country’.
By Clare Meynell and Helen Gray
WBTi UK Working Group