Happy World Breastfeeding Week Everyone!
This week is World Breastfeeding Week - World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) was launched 22 years ago by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) to focus and facilitate actions to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. The WABA coordinated WBW now involves over 175 countries and is endorsed by UNICEF, WHO, PAHO.
Can you imagine a world where every mother was supported, educated and nurtured by their community? A World where breastfeeding was normal? I was shocked to read that less than 50% of all newborns are breastfed in their first hour of life. There are numerous pieces of research highlighting that immediate skin-to-skin contact and early initiation of breastfeeding could reduce neonatal mortality significantly when the baby is put to the mothers breast within one hour of birth. By placing the newborn on the mothers bare chest for initial skin-to-skin contact the babies temperature, heartbeat and breathing is stabilised. Also early initiation of breastfeeding strengthens the life long bond between mother and child.
The newborn first receives Colostrum that is rich in nutrients and antibodies - if nothing else I think all babies should be given this essential nutrient. Breast milk provides all of the nutrients and water an infant requires for the first 6 months while protecting against disease and infection.
Women encounter many issues and barriers when breastfeeding immediately after birth
Millions of women are still giving birth without the care and support that they require to successfully kick start their breastfeeding journey. Educating women during the antenatal period is really important. Supplying or encouraging mothers to use breast milk substitutes (formula) can be quite common in the health profession and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action is focusing on changing this by educating health care professionals on how to council, educate and encourage women to give their newborns the best start in life.
There are very few women I personally know that have carried on breastfeeding longer than a few days or that have even tried at all for various reasons. A big reason I hear time and time again is because of the "stares" and "comments" they or others they know have received in public. The subject of breastfeeding has become somewhat absurdly taboo. I am glad that the "professionals" are trying to change this but in my eyes it is taking far too long! It doesn't help that social media platforms have also been known to deem breastfeeding as "explicit" and "inappropriate". In 2009, Facebook was demonised for deleting women's breastfeeding photos even when privacy was set to 'friends and family only'. They responded by saying that photos with nipples showing are a violation of their policies (which permit the removal of photos deemed obscene or pornographic). Facebook has since updated its policies to allow for photos of mothers nursing on their social media site. I was unfortunately victim to their previous policy having had a breastfeeding image removed and although their policies have now been amended I am still unable to post links to my blogs Facebook page because of the photo that was removed. You can see my previous rant on this here. Below is the photo that was removed along with a few others that were also removed.
Were you a part of "The Global Big Latch On" that took place on the 1st & 2nd August at 10:30am local time?