The Initiative

All parents want the best for their children.

Breastfeeding provides exceptional moments during which a mother develops a special bond with her child and so much more.

Breastfeeding is a vital part of giving every child the healthiest start to life. It’s the baby’s first vaccine; his/her best source of nutrition and it paves the way for healthy development of his/her brain.

The Stronger with Breastmilk Only initiative promotes giving babies breastmilk only, on demand, and stopping the practice of giving water (and other liquids and foods), from the moment of their birth through their first six months of life.

The initiative aims for West and Central Africa to achieve the global exclusive breastfeeding target of 50 per cent by 2025.

Stronger with Breastmilk Only initiative responds to the call to action of the Global Breastfeeding Collective, which gathers more than 20 international organizations that collectively advocate for increased investments and policy change to achieve the global breastfeeding goal.

Learn more by watching this short video


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WHO and UNICEF recommend:

  • Early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth.

  • Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.

  • Introduction of nutritionally adequate and safe complementary (solid) foods at six months together with continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond.

Key Facts

  • Only four out of every 10 newborns are breastfed one hour after birth in West and Central Africa.

  • Only three out of 10 babies under six months are exclusively breastfed in West and Central Africa. Most breastfed babies are given other liquids and foods, in most cases water is given.

  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, the cost of not breastfeeding is the highest in the world, with economic losses representing 2.57 per cent of GNI.

  • Breastfeeding is one of the best investments in global health: every $1 invested in breastfeeding generates $35 in economic returns.

  • Breastfeeding is an investment that not only improves children’s health and saves lives, but also develops human capital, which can benefit a country’s economy.

  • The scaling up of breastfeeding can prevent an estimated 823 000 child deaths and 20 000 breast cancer deaths every year.



Alive & Thrive launches new activities in seven states of Nigeria
2022 Jun 23

Alive & Thrive launches new activities in Nigeria in June with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Accelerating the scale of Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) in Nigeria” will implement interventions to improve MIYCN in six northern states and Lagos State.

2022 May 30

Violations of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes is contributing to low rates of exclusive breastfeeding in Cote d’Ivoire. A national initiative to train health workers on the Code, launched with support from Alive & Thrive, seeks to address the problem.

Lancement du rapport Afro BMS 2022
2022 May 11

Dear colleagues

Do you want to know more about the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes?


Call To Action
A Call to Protect, Promote and Support Exclusive Breastfeeding in West and Central Africa
Breastfeeding research brief: Factors Influencing the Practice of Exclusive Breastfeeding in West and Central Africa: A regional literature review
Catalogue of Resources
Fact Sheets
Breastmilk, the Only Source of Water and Food Babies Need for the First Six Months of Life