Breastfeeding as a human right based approach to adequate food
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Background: The nutritional status is crucial for the mental and physical development of the infant. Breastfeeding has positive short- and long term health outcomes that are beneficial for both the maternal and infant health. The Norwegian health department recommends that infants should be breastfed. The child has a right to adequate health under the human rights framework. Objective: The objective of the paper was to find out if breastfeeding was recognized as a human rights issue in the Norwegian context, as well as assess how breastfeeding was promoted, supported and encouraged as a feeding practice under the human rights framework. Method: The paper had a qualitative approach. Documents were selected through several online searches. An assessment of the documents was performed that used a human right based approach to answer the main objective. Provisions from the human rights instruments related to infant health were identified. National and intergovernmental documents were also gathered to find out how breastfeeding was encouraged, promoted and supported as a feeding practice in Norway. A qualitative content analysis of human rights documents was conducted on selected provisions that explicitly mentioned breastfeeding and adequate food. Results: Norway has signed and ratified 11 different human right instruments. Breastfeeding was explicitly mentioned in 3 of these instruments; the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Norwegian Health Departments recommends that the infant should be exclusively breastfed for 6 months, aligned with the recommendations by the WHO. Norway has implemented several health initiatives, policies and legislation that support, promote and protect the act of breastfeeding. Conclusion: Norway has a conducive, facilitative food environment which supports, protects and promotes the act of breastfeeding and breastfeeding is considered to be a human right of the infant and the mother in Norway.
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