First celebrated in 1992, World breastfeeding week #WBW2019 is a global celebration that occurs every year from the 1st to the 7th of August in more than 120 countries.
It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990, by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organisations, to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
The overarching goal of the week is to highlight the importance of breastfeeding, to encourage and promote breastfeeding and to improve the health of babies and mothers all around the globe.
World Breastfeeding Week aims to highlight the huge benefits that breastfeeding can bring to the health and welfare of babies and benefits to maternal health, focusing on good nutrition, poverty reduction, and food security. World breastfeeding week has the dual goal of improving the health of babies and promoting, protecting, and supporting the rights of women to breastfeed anywhere and at any time.
Increasing breastfeeding to near-universal levels could save more than 700,000 lives every year, the majority being children under six months.
Breastfeeding promotes better health for mothers and children alike. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of mothers developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It is estimated that increased breastfeeding could avert 20,000 maternal deaths each year due to breast cancer. Furthermore, costs associated with NOT breastfeeding amount to 1.448 million Australian dollars a day!
Word Breastfeeding Week is organised every year by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), a global network that aims to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding around the world. WABA collaborates with the World Health Organization and UNICEF to make sure that aid is given to the right people, in the right communities.
Check out the WABA website and join their facebook group to pin where you are having your celebration http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/
“Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding”
Every year World Breastfeeding week has a theme, and this year’s slogan is “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding”.
“Empowering parents” requires relevant, up to date information, education, and support to create an enabling environment, where mothers can feel empowered and supported to breastfeed.
The slogan was chosen to be inclusive of all types of parents in today’s world. Focusing on supporting both parents in reaching their breastfeeding goals and feel empowered is vital to this initiative. This year, WHO is working with UNICEF and partners, to promote the importance of family-friendly policies that enable breastfeeding, and help parents nurture and bond with their children early in life. This includes enacting paid maternity leave for a minimum of 18 weeks, and paid paternity leave to encourage shared responsibility of caring for their children on an equal basis. Mothers also need access to a parent-friendly workplace so that they can continue to breastfeed upon returning to work. To support Mums returning to work, employers should ensure Mums have adequate breastfeeding breaks, access to a safe, private, and hygienic space for expressing and storing breastmilk as well as affordable childcare.
When we empower the family, workplaces, governments, and communities support them. When we remove the barriers to breastfeeding, we “enable breastfeeding.” We can all become a change catalyst and be part of the movement to help support a mother to breastfeed. We all play an important role in the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding.
Aims of World Breastfeeding Week
- To support mothers through peer groups to promote, establish, and carry on breastfeeding by informing families of the benefits of Peer Counseling.
- To educate and train health care practitioners to provide support to mothers and babies in effective ways.
- Call governments to action to recognise the importance of the protection and promotion of breastfeeding and provide legislation to support a breastfeeding mother.
- To deepen knowledge within the community to enhance, promote, and protect breastfeeding.
How can Medela help?
At Medela, we exist to enhance mother and baby health through the life-giving benefits of human milk. It is our mission to be the world’s leading advocate and partner for mother’s milk.
Medela engages and supports the community by fostering close partnerships with services that support and promote breastfeeding. Medela is proud to support Lifes Little Treasures, Australia’s foremost charity dedicated to providing support, friendship, and information that is specifically tailored for families of premature or sick babies. Medela also supports St Kilda Mums, where their goal is to make sure children and families are happy, healthy and safe.
Research is in our DNA, and Medela is renowned for excellence in evidence-based research. For more than 50 years, Medela has helped to enhance mother and baby health through the life-giving benefits of breast milk and supports mothers during their breastfeeding journey. Medela works with experienced medical professionals and fosters collaborations with universities, hospitals, and research institutions worldwide.
Medela is committed to the ongoing education and promotion of breastfeeding and to facilitate this, we are offering our followers the opportunity to ask our resident International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant any questions that they have about breastfeeding. Kristy Newnham is the Education Manager for Medela, based in Melbourne, Australia, supporting Mums, bubs and their families across Australia and New Zealand. She is a Registered Nurse, specialising in Neonatal Intensive Care, as well as an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant. Kristy will be hosting her 2-hour open forum to answer breastfeeding questions from 10am-12pm on Monday the 5th of August via our Medela Facebook and Instagram page.
‘Medela At Work’ is our commitment to both working, pumping mums and their employers.
Here, we provide the tools and support for both parties to embrace one goal: for mum to continue providing the benefits of breast milk to her baby for as long as she chooses. Mums can then continue to maintain a healthy milk supply and breastfeeding relationship with their baby, as well as return to work.
Let’s celebrate World Breastfeeding Week by starting the conversation; how can we better enable Mums and families to feel supported in their breastfeeding journey?