Breastfeeding rates in the UK have stagnated, as they have in many places around the world.

Effective action is needed now.

Thanks to a number of significant global initiatives breastfeeding rates around the world have slowly risen over the last few decades.The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative, the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (the Code), and the Innocenti Declaration and WHO’s Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding have played a major role.We can celebrate some small improvements, but less than 40% of babies worldwide benefit from six months exclusive breastfeeding and in the UK still only 1% of babies are exclusively breastfed for six months.

Some countries have achieved marked increases in breastfeeding rates when a combination of several actions guided by the Global Strategy have been implemented such as:

  • A combination of national legislation on the Code and maternity protection for working women.
  • Ensuring initiation of breastfeeding in all maternity facilities by using the Baby Friendly Initiative.
  • Building capacity to offer skilled infant feeding counselling to all mothers.
  • Providing more mother support groups in the community and well planned communication strategies to promote breastfeeding throughout society.

What is the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi)?

In 2005, the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) launched the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi): a collaborative initiative to assess and monitor key breastfeeding policies and programmes (shown below), all drawn from the WHO Global Strategy and the Innocenti Declaration.

The assessment and strategies are developed by partner stakeholder agencies working together to highlight gaps and stimulate action to bridge them. Each country’s results are publicly displayed on the WBTi website, providing further impetus to government leaders to act decisively.

Currently 82 countries are participating in the WBTi; the latest report and details are available online at www.worldbreastfeedingtrends.org

For breastfeeding to be successful families need the right support along the whole course of breastfeeding, from giving birth in a Baby Friendly Hospital, going home to find skilled local support from Health Visitors, GPs, and having access to support groups throughout their communities.  It means accurate information, without marketing pressure from manufacturers, throughout society, from friends, family,health professionals and the media, all the way to policy makers and employers supporting women returning to work.

Mothers and babies need the full network of support that is measured by the WBTi.

Download the PDF of the WBTi document here

The UK WBTi Working Group would like to thank WABA and IBFAN Asia for permission to use material from the World Breastfeeding Week 2012 Action Folder and Insert and from the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative website.

www.worldbreastfeedingtrends.org                                                                                                                                                             International secretariat: info@ibfanasia.org

Recent News

WBti UK now has an active blog at ukbreastfeeding.org and you can read our most recent news below.

Recent Posts: Breastfeeding trends (UK)

How does formula feeding impact families?

How does formula feeding impact families?

Has your family used infant formula, or do you work with families who do? Please help with providing information to help support families better. The charity First Steps Nutrition Trust and the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Infant Feeding and Inequalities are holding an inquiry to find out more about the costs to families of […]

The role of the infant feeding specialist – guest blog by Lyndsey Hookway

The role of the infant feeding specialist – guest blog by Lyndsey Hookway

I was asked to deliver a 15-minute talk at the Institute of Health Visiting and Royal Society of Public Health conference in April, entitled: The role of the infant feeding specialist. The following is a synopsis. I started by sharing the story of a client whose journey will sound familiar to many IBCLCs – a […]

Rose’s Story — Maternity Protection (WBTi Indicator 4)

Rose’s Story —  Maternity Protection (WBTi Indicator 4)

The WBTi UK Report recommendations for Indicator 4 are for government action, including legislative change: Governments to legislate for reasonable breastfeeding breaks and suitable facilities for breastfeeding/expressing in workplaces and educational institutions. Governments to ensure that tribunal access is available to women from all income brackets. Government agencies to monitor provision for employees. Governments to raise […]

Breastfeeding: A Public Health Priority

Breastfeeding: A Public Health Priority

Conference hosted by the Institute for Health Visiting and the Royal Society for Public Health, with the WBTi UK team. 10.00 Opening Remarks Chair: Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director, Institute of Health Visiting  A public health view of breastfeeding  10.10 Breastfeeding as mother and physician – Dr Louise Santhanam, GP and Chair, the GP […]

Save the Children Fund report on infant formula marketing

Save the Children Fund report on infant formula marketing

Indicator 3 of a WBTi assessment is about implementation and monitoring of the World Health Assembly International Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. UK Regulations only partly incorporate the International Code yet the regulations still get broken, as the WBTi UK report of 2016  illustrates with examples of idealising text and images on packaging, […]

A story about homes

A story about homes

Once upon a time there was a town where the young people had two options available when they wanted a place of their own to start a family . They could either live in the town, in existing apartment blocks, or build their own home on the edge of the town. Some preferred the apartments […]

Protecting Infants and Young Children: WBTi Forum on Planning for Emergencies in the UK

Protecting Infants and Young Children: WBTi Forum on Planning for Emergencies in the UK

On Tuesday 28th, Dr Ruth Stirton of the University of Sussex joined forces with the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) Steering Group, along with Marie McGrath of the Emergency Nutrition Network, to present on the topic of safe provision for feeding infants and young children in emergencies in the UK. This WBTi UK first anniversary […]

WBTi UK report – first anniversary celebration – a Forum

WBTi UK report – first anniversary celebration – a Forum

It’s a year since the first WBTi UK report was launched in November 2016 at the Houses of Parliament, giving the first snapshot of the state of breastfeeding support in the UK across the indicators. The report has been used as a basis to advocate for improvements in legislation, in strategy, and in training. It […]

Using data to help all children reach their potential

Using data to help all children reach their potential

Indicator 10: Mechanisms of Monitoring and Evaluating Systems: Are monitoring and evaluation data regularly collected and used to improved infant and young child feeding practices? In last month’s blog Patricia Wise explained how monitoring and evaluating breastfeeding rates is the 10th and final indicator of any World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative report, including the UK one . […]

Data matters: How do we know what’s happening with breastfeeding?

Data matters: How do we know what’s happening with breastfeeding?

Indicator 10 of any World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative report is about that country’s monitoring and evaluation systems. It may not seem an exciting topic but it’s essential to collect robust data on infant feeding to know what the breastfeeding rates are and how mothers are experiencing services. Without having monitoring data how can services be […]

 
Breastfeeding: A Public Health Priority

Breastfeeding: A Public Health Priority

Today Thursday 19th April 2018 in London, the Institute of Health Visiting, the Royal Society for Public Health, and the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) UK Working Group, are convening a conference entitled "Breastfeeding: A Public Health Priority". The conference will be bringing together recommendations for action to improve integrated infant feeding support services for families, who are currently facing many gaps and cuts in services. Read their statement here. FINAL PR 180418 - Breastfeeding - a public health priority Recommendations include: - basic training for health professionals - additional peer ... Read More

Update on the first World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative in the UK March 2016

The steering group of the WBTI UK Working Group consists of: Helen Gray, Clare Meynell, Ayala Ochert, Alison Spiro and Patricia Wise, Jill Dye and others. Over the last few months there has been much hard work going on quietly behind the scenes. Information has been collected and submitted by UK organisations, including the NHS, Public Health bodies and Royal Colleges, in fact all who have any contact with mothers and babies through the length and breadth of their breastfeeding journey. With the help of many other supportive people the ... Read More

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