The UAE joins world countries in marking World Breastfeeding Week, which is held every year from 1-7 August.
This year's theme is "Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet: one for all, all for one" and it aims to highlight the positive impact of breastfeeding on environmental health and hazards of replacing it with formula milk, especially in light of the burden of producing formula milk on the environment.
Breastfeeding is one of the best practices to avoid infant mortality and improve health, social, economic, and environmental development for individuals and countries.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, is keen to implement the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, WHO, in terms of encouraging mothers to start breastfeeding their babies within the first hour of birth. Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development, and health.
Mothers are advised to continue breastfeeding their babies until the age of 2 years along with other types of food. This would help immunise babies and protect them from illnesses, especially communicable diseases. Breastfeeding also reduces the mothers' risk for ovarian and breast cancer and protect them from postpartum depression.
MoHAP provides breastfeeding counseling services in hospitals and health clinics to empower mothers to practice breastfeeding and to educate them on how to properly breastfeed their children to maintain maternal and child health.