WHO Code Day of Action

On May 21st, 2016 breastfeeding supporters around the world joined forces and together we all celebrated the WHO Code Day of action, an initiative to create awareness and protect families from unfair marketing strategies.

The International Code of Marketing Substitutes is an International health policy for breastfeeding promotion adopted by the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) in May 21st, 1981.

The Code was developed as a health strategy to recommend restrictions on the marketing of breastmilk substitutes such as infant formula in hopes of ensuring moms to not be discouraged to breastfeed their babies. Thankfully, since 1981, 84 countries have enacted legislations implementing all or many of the provisions of the WHO Code.

Unfortunately many baby food companies and hospitals all around the world have failed to abide by the code, which is why breastfeeding advocates created the WHO Code Day, specially to be able to educate mothers about it.


WHO Code Provisions

For the World Health Organization, the Code aims to shield breastfeeding mothers from commercial promotion that affects them, health workers and health care systems. Here we have provided some samples of the provisions regulated by the code:

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Sam Graff Breastfeeding Her child
For Mothers:

Information and educational materials on infant and young child feeding should be objective and consistent and emphasize the importance of breastfeeding. In no case should such materials refer to a brand name of a product.

All forms of product advertising and promotion are prohibited.

Mothers should not be given free product samples.

  • Promotional devices such as discounts and special displays at the retail level are prohibited.
For Health Workers:
  • The Code gives health workers the responsibility to encourage and protect breastfeeding.
  • Materials regarding products given to health professionals by manufacturers and distributors should be limited to ‘scientific and factual’ matters. They should not be tools to promote the use of products.
  • Product samples may be given only when necessary for professional evaluation or research at the institutional level. In no case should these samples be passed on to mothers.
For Health Care Systems:
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“Thank you for Breastfeeding me”
  • Promotion of any product is forbidden in a health care facility. This includes the display of products, placards and posters concerning such products and distribution of materials provided by manufacturers and distributors.
  • Formula feeding should be demonstrated only to those mothers or family members who need to use it and the information given should include a clear explanation of the risks of formula feeding and hazards of improper use of products.
  • Donated equipment and materials should not refer to brand names of products.
  • Free Supplies: Two subsequent resolutions (WHA 39.28 [1986] and WHA 47.5 [1994]) effectively call for an end to all free or low-cost supplies to any part of the health care system. Manufacturers and distributors are therefore prohibited from providing products to health care facilities for free or at low cost.

WHO is Breastfeeding? – A happy baby photo contest

For everyone who is part of Breastfeeding World, it is important to take action and join this global initiative so that we can fairly promote breastfeeding together; because of this we launched our “WHO is Breastfeeding? – A happy baby photo contest”. With this contest, we hope to encourage moms around the world to learn more about the WHO code- and it’s safe implementation.

In coordination with our Big Latch On Events quickly approaching- in NYC, Hamilton County and on Martha’s Vineyard- we decided that the winners of this photo contest would be the face of our national outreach campaign. Currently, we are designing the “Thank you for Breastfeeding Me” advocacy cards, which will be handed to all the participants of our Tri-State events.

But as you know, for Breastfeeding World every picture has to come with a story. These are the breastfeeding journey stories of these lovely mamas and babies! Meet them as you will see their pictures printed very soon!.

Shawna Sundberg –

With my first child, I was not prepared to breastfeed. In fact, I was only told it was disgusting and that I should not do it. Because I had no support, (we had moved to a new state three months prior to her being born) I just did not do it. With my second child, I was a bit more prepared, yet still was unable to breastfeed for long. I did not have any LLL or LC professionals within two hours of where I lived. So when I had a hard time with his latch and extreme pain, and taking 2 hours to feed him, I had no idea what to do. Therefore, we started formula at four months. If I had have someone with experience we would have been able to learn that he had a lip tie.

With my third child I was much better advised and researched. The internet had changed so much and there was so much more information available to me. We had a beautiful breastfeeding experience which lasted 20 months when she self weaned. My fourth, and current, baby is 8 1/2 months old and we are going strong! I have experience as well as great support where we live now. I love that breastfeeding isn’t as it was 13 years ago when I had my first. I love that it’s becoming more and more normalized…as it should be.

Sarah Brown –

who code, sarah, thank you for breastfeeding,

“The way she snuggles right up too me is the best feeling any mommy can experience.” – Sarah Brown

When my first daughter was born, I had no support, no idea what to expect or what I was doing for that matter. I was very scared that I wouldn’t produce enough milk, or that I wouldn’t have the strength to do it. The moment she was born, it all just went away. The beauty of natural motherhood stepped in. She immediately latched. And it was an amazing sense then. Now just having my second daughter, I had no worries in the world.

Joni Jones –

Breastfeeding for me was something I wanted to do as a Mother. I wanted to provide my children with the best of the best, that’s the breast.

After not being able to successfully nurse my oldest, I set out on a mission to be successful with our newest edition. The bonding we are sharing has been so healing to me.  My husband is the most supportive of my journey. He got up during the beginning days and provided pillows, helped me get baby latched, brought me snacks and water when I needed it. He’s encouraged me when I was frustrated to keep going. My friends stand beside me when I’m trying to learn the art of tastefully nursing in public and no one winces or shy’s away if a nipple is out longer than what may be “social acceptable.” I really have the best support system around!

Thank You for Breastfeeding

I am so thankful for a community such as Breasting World! You ladies have shown how important and powerful feeding your baby is. Our hungry babies need to eat- just the same as anyone else. We need to feel more comfortable feeding where we are!




A photography project founded in late 2014 by Alexia Garcia, photographer a Alegares Photography. Breastfeeding World aims to promote breastfeeding and encourage new moms to nurse their babies through the art of photography and story telling.

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