World Breastfeeding Week: August 1-7, 2017
It is World Breastfeeding Week, guys.
(Photo used with permission form World Vision.)
It’s been a long time since I have had widdle babies… *sigh*.
I recently sat in on a call with World Vision. I was invited to learn more about breastfeeding as it affects world mothers.
I know how it affected me and my local community, but I was fascinated to learn more on a global level. I know have always taken for grated my options when it comes to breastfeeding. Even though my journey was tough, I am fortunate to have raised and fed my babies here in the states.
I have most certainly taken for granted my freedoms and the privilege I have had in my breastfeeding journey (which was a very tough one, but a topic for another time, I suppose).
The primary struggle I experienced here in the states is probably quite common – the social pressure to breastfeed or to NOT breastfeed depending on where you are (on a plane) or who your social circle is made up of. And it can be tough. But is wasn’t (and isn’t) life-threatening for my babies.
We all know that breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life give babies the very best start no matter where we live in the world.
I had serious issues with breastfeeding with my first and could only breastfeed exclusively the first two months. But I live in a thriving, developed country.
However, on a third-world level… that is where the struggle is really real. Suboptimal breastfeeding worldwide results in hundreds of thousands of infant deaths, 800,000 in fact.
In some communities there is strict social pressure to not breastfeed… either based on cultural ideas, or family pressure, or employment…
There is sometimes the belief that babies need water. When water in undeveloped communities is given to infants, that opens a whole host of potentially deadly consequences for the child. The threat of water contamination is high.
Some cultures believe colostrum is dirty and not good for the baby. But in fact, colostrum is filled with antibodies, only one of many benefitting properties of colostrum!
If not breastfeeding, there is the issue of the cost of formula. If a mother is feeling pressure from her employer, or family, or community to turn to formula… it can be so costly, that often times they will water down the formula to make it go further. Not only does this practice open up a child to potentially contaminated water, but it reduces the amount of nutrition that the infant receives.
World Vision is working hard to help educate these mothers and communities – from giving them the right information about things like colostrum, to education about formula, to working on laws to help restrict how formula companies are able to advertise.
What are some ways you can help world mothers and their babies? World Vision has created programs that support these moms, babies, and families. Of course, and you have probably heard of their child sponsorship program but they also have a New Mother and Baby Kit. For $125 the kit includes a bassinet, cloth diapers, blankets, a container for clean water, and soap. Your gift also provides life-saving infant care training.
Consider buying a kit during World Breastfeeding Week, and/or consider supporting World Vision. They are working hard to help educate the mamas, their communities, and governments in an effort to get all babies their best care.