Protecting, Supporting and Promoting Appropriate Breastfeeding in the 21st Century
A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Women's Health".
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 August 2022) | Viewed by 45893
Interests: epidemiology; global health; maternal and child health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Current and emerging global evidence shows that strategic interventions in the first 2000 days of life (from conception to age five) play a significant role in child survival, health, development and early life experiences—one of such interventions is appropriate breastfeeding practices.
Optimal breastfeeding ensures the healthy growth and development of children and also increases child survival by preventing the introduction of contaminated prelacteal foods and protecting against diarrheal diseases and respiratory tract infections—two leading causes of preventable global under-five deaths. Appropriate breastfeeding also has numerous benefits for both the mother and her household, including a lower risk for the mother to experience noncommunicable diseases (e.g., breast and ovarian cancers) and improved household productivity from a reduction in the number of child sick days, respectively. It is against the backdrop of evidence that the World Health Organization/United Nations Children’s Fund (WHO/UNICEF) and partners recommend timely initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months followed by the introduction of safe, age-appropriate and nutritionally adequate complementary foods along with continued breastfeeding until the child is two years and beyond. The concept of appropriate breastfeeding relates to breastfeeding practices that are consistent with current global recommendations.
In 1989, the WHO/UNICEF developed the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding to support breastfeeding initiation and continuation, and a year later, the Innocenti Declaration was endorsed by global policy decision-makers to protect, support and promote breastfeeding. Three decades on, while remarkable improvements in breastfeeding have been made, breastfeeding rates are still below expected levels globally (both between and within countries). Despite the sustained efforts by global health organizations to galvanise broad-based support for breastfeeding, available evidence suggests that only a handful of countries are on track to meet the current global breastfeeding targets.
Understanding the rationale as to why breastfeeding rates in many countries and/or subnational jurisdictions have remained low and identifying opportunities for improvements would be useful to interested stakeholders. Additionally, breastfeeding research efforts that also focus on structural and system factors, as well as programme implementation and evaluation, are needed if we are to increase the availability of breastfeeding evidence to advocates, organisations and communities who aim to protect, support and promote appropriate breastfeeding.
This Special Issue invites submissions of papers that aim to protect, support and promote appropriate breastfeeding in the 21st century.
Dr. Felix Akpojene Ogbo
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