World breastfeeding week is held every year from August 1st thru the 7th. The World Alliance for Breastfeeding action (WABA) is a compilation of many global individuals and organizations that support breastfeeding. The goal for the week is to promote and inform as many people on the benefits of breastfeeding.
Foundation of Life
This year’s slogan is foundation of life. There is a lot of meaning behind this slogan. Babies start off with the exact nutritional needs their body is looking for. We are talking about easily digested protein, vitamins and fat. Breastmilk even changes as the needs of the baby grow and change. It provides lifelong health for the babies and the mothers.
The Choices Around the World
For women in the United States, when we make the decision to breastfed it is usually based on preferences. For other women breastfeeding can be critical for a baby’s survival. In countries like Haiti, their drinking water is contaminated. When formula is mixed with this water it is a death sentence exposing the child to Cholera, Hepatitis A and Polio.
Even if a woman in a poor household is able to get her hands on clean drinking water they have trouble affording the cost of it. This leads to a common issue of women trying to dilute the formula. This will lead to malnourishment and illness and eventually the death of the child. Breastfeeding supplies no additional burden on the household income and provides food security for the baby. Even when the mother is suffering from malnourishment, breastmilk will provide the nutritional necessities for that child because our bodies are that amazing!
My Breastfeeding Experience
I have two children, each with a different breastfeeding experience. My son was born with a cleft lip and was unable to nurse until his surgery. I exclusively pumped for three months and then introduced formula at around four months due to low milk supply. He had half breastmilk and half formula until he turned one. My daughter is almost 20 months and she has been exclusively breastfeeding. No pumping or bottles for her, just momma! I am so thankful we had access to clean drinking water and could afford formula. But, I am also happy for the ability to provide breastmilk for my children.
There are so many benefits to breastfeeding, I mean there is a a reason why they call it liquid gold but breastfeeding is a struggle.
That’s why this week is so important. To promote, inform and most importantly SUPPORT breastfeeding. The struggle is real, especially in impoverished countries. Women in these countries don’t the knowledge that their bodies are powerhouses. A woman’s body can provide all the nutrition for her growing child. It can be the struggle that your family all formula fed and you want to try breastfeeding and aren’t aware of the process. The struggle to battle postpartum depression while breastfeeding and finding your way as a new mom.
Whatever struggle a woman experiences, world breastfeeding week aims to help make that struggle a little better. Let’s use our voices (and breasts!) to create a more informed and supportive world for ourselves and our children.
During world breastfeeding week there is a national event called The Big Latch On! This event is to promote and support breastfeeding anytime, anywhere! The biglatchon.org will help find a local event near you!