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Children still grow up separated from their families in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
To mark the World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7, 2016), UNICEF in Uzbekistan has partnered up with the supermarket chain korzinka.uz to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding.
Korzinka supermarkets are conveniently located throughout Tashkent and attract a large number of customers, so placing standees with messages related to breastfeeding in these hot-spots is proving to be very useful to spread awareness. A company as large as Korzinka has the capacity to reach thousands of people daily; this is quite a sizeable impact when you think about how many customers will be able to see the standees throughout the week.
UNICEF volunteers had the chance to talk to some of the customers at four Korzinka supermarkets, and were thrilled to discover that people across generations and genders support breastfeeding. Customers of all ages talked about the benefits of breastfeeding, stating: “breastfeeding builds the child’s immune system, and protects him/her from disease.” One mother shared her story, emphasizing the importance of breastfeeding in creating a bond between mother and child. A younger woman who perhaps may not have even thought about becoming a mother yet was also very supportive of breastfeeding: “I’m definitely supportive of breastfeeding, I’ve heard about the health benefits and think it’s important for children to have access to this nutrition.”
But women were not alone in their belief that breastfeeding is the best option for children. We approached grandfathers, fathers, and even potential future fathers – all of them expressed the same opinion that breastfeeding is the optimal option for children if it is possible. A young father said, “No formula can replace mother’s milk, it is the most natural and beneficial food a newborn child may receive.” An elder family member echoed his views, saying that “I have a lot of children, and all of them were raised on breast milk because it is the safest source of food.
Breastfeeding doesn't concern mothers alone. Rather, it benefits a family, the community and the planet. Breastfeeding infants exclusively for 6 months, and then for at least 2 years is linked to economic, environmental, educational, gender equality, and health benefits. You can find out more about these benefits at http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/