Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Golden Bow Initiative

The Global Golden Bow Initiative: UNICEF launched this symbol, derived from earlier symbols, and an associated educational campaign on the 12th anniversary of the Innocenti Declaration (2002).

In 2004 the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) created the Golden Bow Initiative and it became the symbol of World Breastfeeding Week.

Today, the University of North Carolina School of Public Health endorses this symbol of support for optimal infant and young child feeding.

Why is the Golden Bow endorsed by the University of North Carolina School of Public Health as the symbol for the protection, promotion and support of optimal infant and young child feeding?

Meaning and Purpose: Many social change efforts have used a symbol to create a sense of belonging to a unified movement. The Golden Bow serves this purpose: it is unique in that it is both a symbol for social change, and it carries many meanings within its own design. The Golden Bow is a lesson in the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding, young child feeding and maternal health.

The use of the golden color for the bow symbolizes that six months of exclusive breastfeeding is the gold standard for infant feeding, against which any alternative should be judged.

A Bow:
Why do we use a bow, rather than the looped ribbon of most campaigns? Each part of the bow carries a special message:
One loop represents the mother and one represents the child.
The ribbon is symmetrical, telling us the mother and child are both vital to successful breastfeeding – neither is more important, and both must be supported.
The knot is the father, the family and the society. Without the knot, there would be no bow; without support, breastfeeding cannot succeed.
The streamers are the future: one for continued breastfeeding for 2 years or more with appropriate complementary feeding, and the other for adequate delay of the next birth to give the mother and child time together, to recover and to grow, and to give the mother the time she needs to provide active care for the health, growth and development of this child.

By wearing the Bow, you are stating your commitment to create and sustain change!
Wear it proudly -- Take action today.

For additional information, visit: or or

To obtain or purchase a UNC Golden Bow, and an explanatory bookmark, please contact CIYCFC@UNC.EDU

SIDS and other controversies...

The SIDS issue - whether or not to cosleep - is so misunderstood. I think that the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine ( has an excellent statement on the issue.

On this issue, and on many others, there seems to be a constant struggle between three corners of the health triangle: individual patient care, best interest of the public, and the need for simple behavior change messages that allow individuals to help themselves.

Proper counseling for SIDS prevention at the individual level is much more than "back" sleeping or don't cosleep or use of pacifiers. The best interest of the public is served when all factors are properly weighed in a risk/benefit equation, and recommendations include consideration of more than a single issue. Unfortunately, good research can be "translated" poorly, with the resulting messages giving incomplete and even misleading information for individual behavior change.

What can we do to ensure that all three corners of the health triangle are included in thinking? I have only recently been introduced to the concept of translational research, the art and science of combining the evidence from many disciplines, and interpreting it into the language of program, policy and behavior change.

Having worked in many countries, and having worked poorly in many languages and cultures due to poor "translation", and having spoken to skilled interpreters about translation, my conclusion is that we might better aim for "interpretational" research, because it is often necessary to go beyond translation of the words in order to truly achieve full understanding.

Bringing together the evidence from many disciplines and interpreting it into language/messages that, if acted upon, benefit the audience, is the best any interpreter could hope to achieve. Contributing to all parts of the health triangle demands translation, interpretation, and evaluation of impact.

Addressing all three parts of the public health triangle - individual care, public health improvement, and enabling self-care through program, policy and public messages for change - using interpretation and testing of the evidence, may be the best way forward.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Welcome to my blog site

I have been encouraged to start a blog to share musings on how societies support the next generation by enabling the mother/child dyad to suceed in the best start on life: optimal infant and young child feeding, with optimal women's nutrition and maternal health.