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World Breastfeeding Week to Be Celebrated August 1-7

Schaumburg, IL (March, 2003) World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated each year August1-7. This year's theme, as announced by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), is Breastfeeding in a Globalised World-for Peace and Justice. Human milk is a remarkable and renewable resource, and breastfeeding's positive effect on mothers and babies remains despite political changes, climactic conditions, and environmental factors.

Research shows that exclusive breastfeeding delays the return of fertility, has proven an effective means of reducing the death rate from childhood malnutrition and diarrhea in developing countries, and supports optimal infant growth and development with many benefits extending well beyond infancy. Breastfeeding provides significant benefits not only to infants but also to breastfeeding mothers who reduce their risk of breast and ovarian cancer as well as osteoporosis.

World Breastfeeding Week is part of WABA's ongoing campaign to increase public awareness of the importance of breastfeeding. LLLI celebrates World Breastfeeding Week by holding walks around the globe that raise awareness and funds to help in providing breastfeeding information, education and support that benefits mothers and babies.

August 1 marks the anniversary of the signing of the Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding which was adopted in 1990 by 32 governments and ten United Nations Agencies. The declaration states:

As a global goal for optimal maternal and child health and nutrition, all women should be enabled to practice exclusive breastfeeding and all infants should be fed exclusively on breast milk from birth to four to six months of age. Thereafter children should continue to breastfeed while receiving appropriate and adequate complementary foods for up to two year of age or beyond. This child feeding ideal is to be achieved by creating an appropriate environment of awareness and support so that women can benefit in this manner.

LLLI is a nonprofit, nonpolitical and nonsectarian organization that offers mother-to-mother support groups and interaction with parents, physicians, researchers and health care providers. Its Center for Breastfeeding Information is the world's largest lactation library. The organization reaches over 300,000 women monthly in 63 countries. Its informative website at www.lalecheleague.org reaches millions more.

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