1 August 2023 - 11:51
World Breastfeeding Week

Nurturing a bond like no other, this natural act of love provides nourishment, protection, and comfort, fostering the health and well-being of both mother and child.

Iran (IMNA) - Even though it didn’t finally become legal to breastfeed in public in all 50 states until 2018, the practice of a mother breastfeeding her baby is a natural and healthy choice. Thankfully, the attitude toward breastfeeding shame is changing in today’s world as more and more women become educated about the health benefits for their babies and for themselves as well.

World Breastfeeding Week is here to raise awareness for and educate people in support of breastfeeding to promote healthier children, happier families and a better world!

History of World Breastfeeding Week

Of course, breastfeeding itself can be traced all the way throughout human history as it was the way mothers have been feeding their children for thousands of years! Compared to this, World Breastfeeding Week might seem like a new event, but it’s actually more than 30 years old. This event got its start in 1992 when it was founded by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA).

Since its beginnings, World Breastfeeding Week has grown in popularity and scope, having been celebrated in more than 120 countries all over the globe. In addition, the week comes under the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), as well as a wide range of partner organizations.

The purpose of World Breastfeeding Week is to promote and encourage the health benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. In the United States, around 80% of newborns start out breastfeeding, but some of them are influenced by difficulties and the feeding tapers off. And Sweden has one of the highest rates of breastfeeding – at 98%!

Worldwide, less than 50% of babies are given exclusively breast milk until they are six months old, which is the reason that World Breastfeeding Week exists: to raise awareness for the array of benefits it provides to women and children.

Along a similar vein, those moms who breastfeed, and their partners or family members who support them, may also be interested in celebrating World Breast Pumping Day that takes place in late January.

How to Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week

Those who are interested in learning more or are considering ways that they can be in support of World Breastfeeding Week might want to look into some of these plans and activities for the event:

Learn About Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby

Those who are pregnant and making a decision about breastfeeding, or seek to support someone who is, can learn about the myriad of ways that breastfeeding is healthier than formula feeding, both for the baby and for the mother. Check with a medical professional, do some online research and also check out some of these benefits to get started:

  • Breast milk is a substance that contains living stem cells, which go on to foster development in a baby’s brain, heart, bones and other organs.

  • The first “milk”, called colostrum, contains specific proteins that coat the baby’s intestinal tract to help her protect it from harmful bacteria and germs from the very beginning.

  • Breast milk contains antibodies and white blood cells from the mother that protect a baby from all sorts of short and long term diseases.

  • Breast milk that is consumed by a baby in the later parts of the day contains additional amounts of serotonin, a hormone that helps a baby to sleep. Genius!

Consider Breastfeeding Benefits for Mothers

Pregnant mothers who are interested in learning more about the personal benefits of breastfeeding for their own bodies should talk to their doctor and may also consider some of these facts:

  • Breastfeeding can burn from 500-600 calories per day, which helps moms who just had a baby take off some of the additional weight they may have gained during pregnancy.
  • When a woman is breastfeeding, her brain releases calming chemicals such as oxytocin and prolactin, which help her to reduce stress and anxiety while bonding with her baby.
  • Mothers who breastfeed are at a lower risk of developing certain health conditions, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and postpartum depression.

Support a Breastfeeding Mom

Families who choose to breastfeed their children often find it to be a convenient and healthy choice, but sometimes it is more difficult than expected. Friends and family members of a mom who is struggling to breastfeed can help by being encouraging and supportive, helping a new mom in whatever ways they can.

Offering to do things like holding the baby when mom is taking a shower, cutting her food so she can eat while she is feeding the baby, and looking after the older children so she can rest are all helpful activities. Plus, it might be useful to offer to help her find professional resources if she needs support with lactation issues such as sore nipples, low milk supply, plugged ducts or infection.

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