Guest Post by Megan Stark
“What if every woman who wanted to breastfeed was supported in this choice, fully, by her family, peers, community, government, workplace, how different would our world be?”
World Breastfeeding Week is coming to a close today – and what an amazing week it has been! Photos have been shared, stories have been told and many more people are now informed about the benefits of breastfeeding…of which there are many.
The WABA (World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action) coordinates the World Breastfeeding Week each year. This year’s theme is extra exciting because it focuses on raising awareness of the links between breastfeeding and the Sustainable Development Goals recently established. “By recognizing that breastfeeding is a key to sustainable development, we will value our well-being from the start of life, respect each other and care for the world we share.”
On Friday, I attended an amazing event celebrating this special week – “The Big Latch On” hosted in my local community by babywearing consultant, entrepreneur, shopkeeper, mama and all around amazing community member, Britni Morley (Wrap me Tender). The event was an incredible collection of mamas – tiny babies, toddlers, and other siblings too. There were even a couple of daddies in the mix, showing their support of the many benefits of breastfeeding. The Big Latch On has confirmed 14,999 mamas had their babies latch on at once for this event – a new record!
World Breastfeeding Week spurs on events such as this – and they are so important for continuing to educate and empower women, men and families to make decisions about their child rearing that makes the most sense for their families. Breastfeeding is a protective factor for SIDS, obesity, allergies, malnutrition & famine, breastmilk is the perfect nutrition for babies under 6 months of age and provides all nutritional requirements, breastmilk is free (although we do understand that there are many other factors that contribute to cost, such as pumping), breastfeeding is more sustainable for our environment – using less energy, resources, & packaging than formula, breastfeeding decreases a woman’s risk of breast cancer and encourages strong bonding between MotherBaby. The WHO recommends nursing until at least 2 years of age, and have no upper limit to that amount of time that will be beneficial to a child. (Read 10 Facts on Breastfeeding published by WHO) But this doesn’t mean that breastfeeding is easy, nor does it mean that it is attainable to all women and their babies.
Hear why Big Latch on host, Britni finds this event so important!
Jesika came to participate in the Big Latch On and she shares why it’s an important event to her.
There are many women in this world that have never considered breastfeeding their child for many reasons, others would like to breastfeed but do not have the support or education, still others try and find it too difficult under their circumstances, perhaps having to return to work, having difficulty with latch or other complications and do not have the resources for a consultant. Some cultures believe formula is better.
But the science, the biological norms – these support breastfeeding, even extended breastfeeding. This is not to say that women who can’t, don’t or won’t breastfeed are any less in anyway. They must make the decision that is right for THEIR families, as we all do.
But wouldn’t it be amazing if every woman who chose to breastfeed their babies could do so without social blockages or work complications? That these women had support from within the home, outside of the home, in their community, access to professionals when necessary, and a workplace that honored a women’s need to pump or feed her baby throughout the day?
Spread the word! Tell your mother, doctor, friend, sister, brother, dad, uncle, aunt, mail-person, lawyer, check-out clerk….you name it – tell them why breastfeeding needs to be supported and encouraged.
How will you celebrate World Breastfeeding Week? Share with us your breastfeeding selfies, or about your journey. Did you pump exclusively? Pump and Breastfeed? Breastfeed and use formula? Our journeys as mothers, wherever it takes us, is sacred and beautiful, so thank you mamas for nurturing your babies – in the best way you can.
OB Pleasure Coordinator, Doula & Mama
Special thanks to Britni Morley of Wrap Me Tender for generously hosting this event and her husband, Morley’s Magic Shop for providing food and beverages. Thank you to Maegan Doughtery for the stunning professional photos of the event!
Did you have a unique experience with birth or breastfeeding? We are seeking stories to share on our blog to encourage, empower, educate and support others- all stories are welcome! Submit your story HERE.