The next several posts will contain discussion of the evidence and recommendations for all Ten Steps of the Baby-friendly journey. Upon these discussions, we will continue to build an evidence-based foundation for our work on the BFHI designation. Revisions to the Ten Step document have been released for the United States and are currently being completed for the remaining global community. This post discusses equity and human rights as applied to breastfeeding families.
“As for any other area of human activity and social interaction, breastfeeding has also been subject to debate from a human rights perspective, raising fundamental questions pertaining to women’s rights and infants’ rights in the broader perspective of interrelatedness and indivisibility of all human rights,” ¹
A joint statement was issued in 2016, written by the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Food and the Right to Health, the Working Group on Discrimination against Women in law and in practice, and the Committee on the Rights of the Child, supporting increased efforts to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. Outlining principles and providing human rights-based guidance for Member States of the UN, this document discusses advocating for breastfeeding. Among its principles are the following:
Discussion within this document also addresses health inequities across wealth quintiles as well as counselling interventions promoting breastfeeding. Research shows that counseling can bridge the gap between wealthier populations and those of low-income, in terms of health outcomes linked to breastfeeding.
Kathy Parkes, MSN-Ed, RN, IBCLC, FILCA CHC
Professional Development Educator
1. Protecting, promoting and supporting Breastfeeding in Facilities providing maternity and newborn services. (2017). World Health Organization https://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/guidelines/breastfeeding-facilities-maternity-newborn/en/
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Last Updated: September 2018