Celebrating breastfeeding during World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week (1st to 7th August 2019) is about how empowering parents enables breastfeeding now and in the future this year. Focusing on supporting both parents to be empowered is vital in order to realise their breastfeeding goals.

Empowerment is a process that requires evidence-based unbiased information and support to create the enabling environment where mothers can breastfeed optimally. Breastfeeding is in the mother’s domain. Breastfeeding improves when fathers, partners, families, workplaces, and communities support mothers.

We can all support this process, as breastfeeding is a team effort. We all need to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

World Breasfeeding Work 2019 aims to protect, promote and support breastfeeding through:

  • parental social protection policies and legislation such as paid maternity and paternity leave;
  • parent-friendly workplaces – so parents don’t have to choose between providing financially or caring for their family; and
  • parent-friendly values and gender-equitable social norms – so that fathers can be involved caregivers too.

These measures promote optimal breastfeeding, health and wellbeing as well as protect against discrimination at work. Gender-equitable parental social protection also advances the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby

Breast milk is a natural, renewable food that is produced and delivered without pollution, packaging or waste. Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby because:

  • it’s all that your baby needs to eat and drink for about the first 6 months;
  • it helps to protect your baby against colds, tummy bugs, infections and allergies; and
  • it helps your baby to feel safe and secure.

Breast milk is especially important for premature and critically ill babies. The Christchurch Human Milk Bank helps mothers who are unable to provide their babies with enough milk due to maternal illness, medication or low milk supply.

Breastfeeding is perfect for mothers too

Breastfeeding is perfect for you too because:

  • it gives you a chance to rest while you are feeding your baby,
  • it helps you to feel close to your baby,
  • it saves you time,
  • it’s free, and
  • it may reduce your risk of some cancers and bone disease.

Breastfeeding is an important element in global health

The world’s leaders committed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. These goals are aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity. Breastfeeding is linked in several ways to these goals, including:

  • Being a natural and low-cost way of feeding babies and children;
  • Providing high quality nutrients and adequate energy and can help prevent hunger, undernutrition and obesity;
  • Providing all the water a baby needs, even in hot weather. Formula feeding requires access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation;
  • Safeguarding infant health and nutrition in times of adversity and weather-related disasters due to global warming;
  • Support by society of mothers to breastfeed optimally, and to be in control of how she feeds her baby – to give every child a fair and best start in life; and
  • Supporting breastfeeding mothers who work outside the home to manage challenges, such as having crèches near the workplace, lactation rooms and breastfeeding breaks.

Source: World Breastfeeding Week website.

Published on Friday, June 28th, 2019, under Uncategorised
Page last updated: 08/08/2019

Copyright © 2019, Community & Public Health,