This week, from the 1st to the 7th of August, is World Breastfeeding Week. According to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, for 2016 the theme for World Breastfeeding Week is about linking breastfeeding with Sustainable Development Goals, with how we value wellbeing from the start of life, how to respect each other and care for the world we share.

In India, it is estimated that just 52% of babies aged under 6 months are exclusively breastfed, and only 61% of new mothers have access to critical postnatal care within 2 days of delivery (source: National Family Health Survey). The Hope Foundation is closely aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, and through our projects with street and slum communities in Kolkata, are helping to promote antenatal and postnatal care for all families.


During 2015, HOPE’s implementation agency in Kolkata, the Hope Kolkata Foundation hosted 174 community-based awareness meetings, which educated slum communities on their rights to access antenatal and postnatal care, as well as the benefits of breastfeeding. Our community healthcare volunteers have reached thousands of mothers, children and families in this way. In 2015 our healthcare team made 499 postnatal visits to new mothers within the first two vital days of delivery.

Click here to read more about HOPE’s Healthcare & Nutrition programme area.

Linking Breastfeeding with the Sustainable Development Goals

Breastfeeding links directly with all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Read below for more information on how breastfeeding specifically links with 7 of the Goals to help contribute towards improving lives for all, all over the world.

Goal #1 No Poverty

Breastfeeding is a natural and low-cost way of feeding babies and children. It is affordable for everyone and does not burden household budgets compared to artificial feeding. Breastfeeding contributes to poverty reduction.

Goal #3 Good Health & Wellbeing

Breastfeeding significantly improves the health, development and survival of infants and children. It also contributes to improved health and wellbeing of mothers, both in the short and long term.

Goal #4 Quality Education

Breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding are fundamentals for readiness to learn. Breastfeeding and good quality complementary foods significantly contribute to mental and cognitive development and thus promote learning.

Goal #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

In the bustle of big cities, breastfeeding mothers and their babies need to feel safe and welcome in all public spaces. When disaster and humanitarian crises strike, women and children are affected disproportionately. Pregnant and lactating women need particular support during such times.

Goal #12 Responsible Consumption and Production

Breastfeeding provides a healthy, viable, non-polluting, non-resource intensive, sustainable and natural source of nutrition and sustenance.

Goal #14 Life Below Water

Breastfeeding entails less waste compared to formula feeding. Industrial formula production and distribution lead to waste that pollutes the seas and affects marine life.

Goal #16 Peace and Justice – Strong Institutions

Breastfeeding is enshrined in many human rights frameworks and conventions. National legislation and policies to protect and support breastfeeding mothers and babies are needed to ensure that their rights are upheld.

For more information on World Breastfeeding Week, please visit