“I want to send you many congratulations for creating this wonderful charity, good wishes for the launch event, and even more for future success. I am very sorry that owing to family circumstances I am unable to be with you personally.

August 1st is the most important day in the year for breastfeeding globally: August 1st 1990 was the day on which the Innocenti Declaration on the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding was adopted at a special WHO/UNICEF policymakers’ meeting held at the Spedale degli Innocenti, a former orphanage, in Florence Italy.  In orphanages, as in our own Foundlings Hospital near King’s Cross, people were made powerfully aware that newborns who had no access to mothers’ milk had a very poor survival rate, and hiring wet nurses was the only way to save them. The Innocenti Declaration laid the foundation of the modern global breastfeeding movement – leading to the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative spearheaded by UNICEF, and the formation of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, which co-ordinates World Breastfeeding Week starting on August 1st each year. Weaving between all the threads of protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding [– the  Code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes, maternity protection, good health care practices, breastfeeding counselling, mother support –] is  the need to ensure that any mother and baby who have difficulties, have access to other milk. And the only valid alternative to her own breastmilk is milk from another mother, by wet-nursing or through milk banking.

The Human Milk Foundation, and the work of the Hearts Milk Bank over the last year, are responding to that need. Women increasingly realise the importance of both giving and receiving breastmilk – what a great bond between donors and recipients. Further, provision of donated milk promotes and supports breastfeeding itself, educating people, and encouraging and enabling many mothers to find a way, after all, to give their babies their own milk. It is a critical part of the breastfeeding movement.

I wish the new Foundation every success and will follow and support it in the years ahead.”

Felicity Savage

Chairperson, World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action

Dr Felix Savage

Chairperson of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA)