A Rights-Based Approach to the Protection of Breastfeeding from Corporate Interests

Evidence based research demonstrates that breastfeeding is the vastly superior form of infant nutrition which offers lifelong benefits to both infant and nursing mother. However, public health campaigns have failed to adequately increase UK breastfeeding rates. One of the main barriers to successful and sustained breastfeeding is the insidious marketing tactics of the breast milk substitute industry. This article uses international human rights instruments to inform a rights-based approach to the protection of breastfeeding from corporate interests. This new approach to the regulation of the breastmilk substitute industry is underpinned by the state duty to protect the right to infant nutrition education and the corporate duty to respect this right. It is hoped that by framing breastfeeding education in this way – as a human right – there will be a reduction in much of the controversy and parental guilt that many existing approaches to breastfeeding promotion can unintentionally cause.