Breastfeeding Policy Brief

The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with 1,000 Days, developed a series of six policy briefs linked to each of the global nutrition targets. These policy briefs provide essential guidance to policymakers regarding actions needed in order to achieve progress toward improving maternal and child nutrition and achieving the global nutrition targets by 2025.

Exclusive breastfeeding—defined as the practice of only giving an infant breast-milk for the first 6 months of life (no other food or water) —is a cornerstone of child survival and child health because it provides essential, irreplaceable nutrition for a child’s growth and development. Globally, only 38% of infants are exclusively breastfed and it is estimated that sub-optimal breastfeeding practices contributes to 800,000 deaths of children annually.

Much remains to be done to make exclusive breastfeeding the norm for infant feeding and reach the target to ensure that at least half of the world’s infants are exclusively breastfed in the first six months.