For 20 years, August 1-7 has been World Breastfeeding Week. This year also marks a decade of WHO/UNICEF’s Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF). According to the WBW site, the “Global Strategy has identified a clear need for optimal infant feeding practices in reducing malnutrition as well as poverty. It is based on a human rights approach and calls for the development of comprehensive national policies on infant and young child feeding. It provides guidance on how to protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding for first six months, [and initiated within an hour of birth] and continued breastfeeding for two years or beyond together with adequate, appropriate and indigenous complementary feeding starting from the age of six months.”
Twenty years ago, WBW began with its “Baby-friendly hospital initiative.” According to the WBW’s Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative Action Folder, “baby-friendly hospitals create an environment [that] supports women in their desire to breastfeed … and implement policies [that] safeguard the breastfeeding relationship.” Since its genesis by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) in 1991, and official launch in 1992, WBW is celebrated in over 170 countries and endorsed by The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Pediatric Association (IPA). This year’s theme for WBW is “Understanding the past—planning the future” and has a set of five objectives that include recalling the past two decades of work in IYCF; celebrating the successes and achievements of WBW, assessing the status and achievements of the Global Strategy; creating a call to action that bridges policy gaps on breastfeeding and ICYF; and drawing public attention to the state of policies on breastfeeding and IYCF.
It is important for mothers-to-be and new moms to realize “it is not easy going into [breastfeeding]—both mother and child have to learn how to do it,” says Sue Schweinhart, RN BSN and Lamaze certified childbirth educator. Education both prenatally and before becoming pregnant along with a good start to nursing, continuous support from family, friends or such networks and organizations as Lamaze International, the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) and the La Leche League (LLL) are important when it comes to improving nursing outcomes and improving maternal health and the health of infants and children. Organizations and individuals can pledge to participate in WBW at the WBW website.
Some local World Breastfeeding Week events and happenings include:
Black Breastfeeding 360 hosted by the (BMBFA)
Saturday, August 4
1 to 4 p.m.
at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
315 E. Warren Avenue
Nursing Basics for New Moms with Lamaze International
Saturday, August 4
12 noon to 3 p.m.Babies ‘R’ Us Ann Arbor Store — Store #6442
3725 Carpenter Road
Nursing Basics for New Moms in conjunction with Lamaze International and Babies ‘R’ Us will be occurring in hundreds of locations nation-wide. Check your local store for additional information.
The Big Latch On
Friday, August 3 and Saturday August 4
3 p.m. at various locations throughout the state and worldwide
Visit the Big Latch On website to find locations or to host a Big Latch On in your area.
Are you celebrating World Breastfeeding Week or know of a local World Breastfeeding Week event? If so, tell us about it in the comments.
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