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)

Launch of learning outcomes for health workers

Launch of learning outcomes for health workers

At the start of World Breastfeeding Week, Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative launched a new set of resources: recommended learning outcomes for several health professional groups. It had been announced at the Baby Friendly conference in 2018 that learning outcomes and resources were being produced. Addressing gaps The WBTi report in 2016 (see Indicator 5 […]

Empowering communities through integrated sustainable solutions #WBW2019

Empowering communities through integrated sustainable solutions #WBW2019

I’m a lactation consultant and writer who has just finished a Masters degree in Health Promotion at Leeds-Beckett University. This blog touches on some of the insights that my studies have given me, not least how data, like WBTi’s reports, can help health promoters create integrated, sustainable solutions that make health a resource to be […]

Breastfeeding and medication: training for pharmacists and counter staff

Breastfeeding and medication: training for pharmacists and counter staff

During World Breastfeeding Week #WBW2019, we are hosting a series of guest blogs exploring how the wider team of health professionals and community breastfeeding support can support breastfeeding families. The WBTi Report found numerous gaps in health professional training in infant feeding, and we are delighted to see a terrific range of resources being developed […]

Hospital Breastfeeding 3: Posters from HIFN

Hospital Breastfeeding 3: Posters from HIFN

During World Breastfeeding Week #WBW2019, we are hosting a series of guest blogs exploring how the wider team of health professionals and community breastfeeding support can support breastfeeding families. The WBTi Report found numerous gaps in health professional training in infant feeding, and we are delighted to see a terrific range of resources being developed […]

Don’t Say Stop Look it Up – A New Breastfeeding Campaign for HCPs (HIFN): 2

Don’t Say Stop Look it Up – A New Breastfeeding Campaign for HCPs (HIFN): 2

During World Breastfeeding Week #WBW2019, we are hosting a series of guest blogs exploring how the wider team of health professionals and community breastfeeding support can support breastfeeding families. The WBTi Report found numerous gaps in health professional training in infant feeding, and we are delighted to see a terrific range of resources being developed […]

Strengthening breastfeeding support through a new hospital network (HIFN): 1

Strengthening breastfeeding support through a new hospital network (HIFN): 1

During World Breastfeeding Week #WBW2019, we are hosting a series of guest blogs exploring how the wider team of health professionals and community breastfeeding support can support breastfeeding families. The WBTi Report found numerous gaps in health professional training in infant feeding, and we are delighted to see a terrific range of resources being developed […]

#WBW2019: Empower parents, enable breastfeeding

#WBW2019: Empower parents, enable breastfeeding

The theme for World Breastfeeding Week this year is “Empower parents, enable breastfeeding,” which fits the philosophy of our WBTi work very well.  The WBTi recommendations have been produced by a Core Group of 18 of the UK’s key government agencies, health professional organisations and charities working in infant and maternal health. The 46 recommendations, across […]

Improving UK support for breastfeeding – using a river metaphor

Improving UK support for breastfeeding – using a river metaphor

I was very pleased to have the opportunity at the 9 May iHV conference to present the broad findings of the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) 2016 UK assessment of the state of support for breastfeeding, using the metaphor of a river. The WBTi UK Steering Group is keen to raise awareness of its 2016 […]

International Women’s Day, March 8th

International Women’s Day, March 8th

Today is International Women’s Day, which was first held in 1911. The idea had been proposed at the second International Conference of Working Women, held in Copenhagen in 1910. The Day symbolises the struggle for equality, particularly in the workplace, but is also an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements. You can read more about its […]

Breastfeeding and expressing milk at work: What ARE your rights?

Breastfeeding and expressing milk at work: What ARE your rights?

The media have been reporting today on the lack of legal protection in the UK for women to express milk or breastfeed when back at work. This is one of the reasons women cited for stopping breastfeeding in the U.K. National Infant Feeding Survey. Media coverage of WBTi’s findings on gaps in Maternity Protection in […]

 

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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