Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Continued Breastfeeding from 6 – 24 + Months: Issues, Politics, Policies and Action

Joint statement based on a workshop of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) Global Breastfeeding Partners Meeting (GBPM) VII in Penang, Malaysia, October 2008.
The Joint Statement on Continued Breastfeeding was produced following the WABA GBPM in October 2008 in response to shared concerns that breastfeeding after 6 months has slipped off the policy and programme agenda. Action and investment in improving complementary feeding or providing foods supplements seems to be taking place with little consideration for supporting or improving breastfeeding amongst 6 – 24+ month old children, despite estimates that 20% of deaths in 12 < 24 month age group in developing countries are due to lack of breastfeeding. The statement calls upon everyone involved in improving the health and development of infants and young children to take steps to ensure that continued breastfeeding 6-24+ months is protected, promoted and supported as the precondition for, and foundation of, appropriate complementary feeding.

Steps for action encompassing communication, education and promotion; practical support; breastfeeding as part of complementary feeding; definitions and monitoring; addressing misinformation through marketing and special circumstances are described.

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