Does a child have the right to be breastfed?
Breastival Belfast and the Centre for Children’s Rights QUB hosted a panel discussion on the right to support and protection for those who choose to breastfeed and unbiased information on alternatives to breastmilk for those who need it.
The UN convention on the rights of the child, article 24 speaks of the: “right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health… States Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right and, in particular, shall take appropriate measures… To ensure that all segments of society, in particular parents and children, are informed, have access to education and are supported in the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition, the advantages of breastfeeding…”. In practice, this right needs to translate into support and protection for the mother/child dyad that chooses to breastfeed and unbiased information on alternatives to breastmilk for those who need it. The panel discussed how far we in Northern Ireland have come in recent years to uphold that right and what more needs to be done by the government to ensure these rights are protected.