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)

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 […]

Protecting all infants in emergencies: Indicator 9 in the WBTi report

Protecting all infants in emergencies:  Indicator 9 in the WBTi report

The World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) assessment looks at the state of national policy, programmes and planning around infant and young child feeding (IYCF) in each country. Indicator 9 focuses on national planning for the protection of infants and young children in case of emergency: is there a strategy in place to ensure that suitable […]

Sustaining breastfeeding together: Partnerships for the Goals

Sustaining breastfeeding together: Partnerships for the Goals

The theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week  is all about the importance of building multi-level partnerships to work together to support and protect breastfeeding and achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The final Sustainable Development Goal, number 17, calls for cross sectoral and innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve sustainable development. Research has shown that […]

#KingsBrelfie for World Breastfeeding Week 1– 7August

#KingsBrelfie for World Breastfeeding Week 1– 7August

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW)  (#WBW2017) takes place from 1 – 7 August 2017.  It is an initiative led by The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), supported by UNICEF, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and many breastfeeding organisations worldwide. It is now in its 25th year and it is all about working together for the common good. […]

Sustaining Breastfeeding: A Challenge for the UK

Sustaining Breastfeeding: A Challenge for the UK

Position Statement On Breastfeeding From The RCPCH  Today is the start of World Breastfeeding Week. An open letter was published in The Guardian today, from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), co-signed by the WBTi team and 17 other organisations working in maternal and infant health. The letter calls for improved social […]

Maternity Protection in the workplace: Tribunal fees ended!

Maternity Protection in the workplace: Tribunal fees ended!

WBTI Recommendations on tribunal fees The World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative UK Report in 2016 includes the statements that “employment tribunal fees were introduced in 2013 (except in Northern Ireland) and it now costs £1200 to bring a discrimination claim. Employment tribunal fees constitute a significant financial barrier to accessing justice. The number of employment tribunal […]

 

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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