Re: The e-Consultation on Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security

Angela Cahill Ireland

The key building block for child survival, growth and healthy development is provided exclusive breastfeeding for six months, with continued breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond with the addition of safe and nutritionally adequate complementary foods. These optimal infant feeding practices, as defined in the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, provide the foundations for the achievement of the health-related Millennium Development Goal. Scientific research has shown that breastfeeding is good for mothers, babies and societies. In conditions of poverty and in emergency situations, breastfeeding is a real lifeline and artificial feeding is a huge risk to infant survival. Implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant WHA Resolutions Independent monitoring clearly shows that companies continue to systematically and aggressively market foods for infants and young children using techniques that mislead parents about the risks of artificial feeding and undermine breastfeeding. Such marketing is acknowledged to have a direct, negative impact on the realization of rights of children and women, in particular on the right to health and to adequate food. Correct and unbiased information There is a poor understanding of the fact that breastfeeding should be regarded as a norm and artificial feeding as a substitute that can never be equal to the norm , and how much support a mother needs to succeed in practicing exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and to continue for 2 years or beyond. The need for supportive health care systems Commercial pressures lead to inadequate support provided to women by the health care system. Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), the backbone of which is formed by the ‘Ten steps for successful breastfeeding’, is a key initiative to ensure breastfeeding support within the health care system.