WHO Code

The WHO Code (or simply, “The Code”) is a short name for the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, which was adopted by the World Health Assembly and UNICEF in 1981. Since that time, a number of resolutions have also been passed to clarify and add to the Code.

The Code is a marketing code that aims to protect breastfeeding, to protect all mothers and babies (whether breastfeeding, formula-feeding or combination feeding) and to prevent aggressive marketing practices that often prevent mothers from meeting their own breastfeeding goals. Infant formula, feeding bottles, and artificial nipples are the main products that fall within the scope of the Code. Pacifiers and breast pumps are not under the scope of the Code. Note that the Code only applies to the marketing of these items– it does not affect whether they are sold or used.