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Downloadable calendar is part of the new PAHO campaign “Breastfeeding: Love and Health for Life,” designed by Argentine cartoonist Fernando Sendra

Washington, D.C., 31 January 2014 (PAHO/WHO) — “Am I smarter because I breastfeed, or do I breastfeed because I am smarter? Both, I think!” exclaims breastfeeding’s number-one fictional fan, “Matias,” the cartoon baby created by Argentina’s Fernando Sendra. Little Matias is the star of a new downloadable 2014 desk calendar available free of charge from the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).

The calendar is part of PAHO/WHO’s latest campaign, “Breastfeeding: Love and Health for Life.” The calendar has 12 original cartoon panels—one for each month of 2104—featuring Matias as well as useful facts about breastfeeding and infant nutrition. The January page, for example, notes that “adults who were breastfed as children score 2 to 5 points higher on cognitive development indicators. Breastfeeding is also associated with higher educational achievement.”

“We hope this campaign and desk calendar will remind decision-makers and families throughout the Americas of how important it is for babies to be breastfed,” said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne. “It’s everyone’s responsibility to support mothers so they are able to breastfeed anywhere, anytime.”

Globally, only one in three babies is breastfed exclusively for the first six months, as recommended by PAHO/WHO.

In February, the calendar highlights the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers; in March, it notes “Breastfeeding is good for the environment!”; in April, it explains how breast milk protects babies against disease; in May, it notes that breastfeeding leads to healthcare savings; in June, it highlights “breast milk: a champion’s first food!” in the context of the FIFA World Cup, which will take place in Brazil that month.

Other messages in the calendar reflect women’s right to breastfeed anytime and anywhere, the need to support working mothers so they can continue to breastfeed, the benefits of breastfeeding for preventing childhood obesity, and the need to protect breastfeeding from inappropriate marketing of breast-milk substitutes (“formula”). The calendar also highlights the mother-child bond created by breastfeeding and the unique and irreplaceable nature of breast milk.

Argentine cartoonist Fernando Sendra, the creative force behind the new campaign, is a PAHO/WHO Champion of Health and has collaborated with the organization since 2002 to promote breastfeeding in the Americas and worldwide.

PAHO, founded in 1902, is the oldest international public health organization in the world. It works with its member countries to improve the health and the quality of life of the people of the Americas. It serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO and is part of the Inter-American system.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 13:36

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