Tuesday, August 02, 2011

It's World Breastfeeding Week!

This week is World Breastfeeding Week, which is celebrated annually through the first week of August in 120 countries. The week is meant to bring more awareness to the benefits of breastfeeding for infants, mothers and society as a whole. This year's theme is: "Talk to Me! Breastfeeding - a 3D Experience," intended to focus on the need for more communication about breastfeeding between medical professionals, mothers, government and health organizations.

The reasons to breastfeed are numerous. According to the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), breastfeeding is directly linked with reducing deaths of children under the age of five. Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF says: “No other preventive intervention is more cost effective in reducing the number of children who die before reaching their fifth birthdays.”

Breast milk has been shown to boost a baby’s immune system, help fight off infection, and reduce the risk of SIDS. Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. Breastfeeding is free, as opposed to the high costs of formula and can be life-saving in emergency situations. Plus, nursing mothers are more likely to take better care of their health in the postpartum period and return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster.

Although the benefits of breastfeeding are many, it does not come easily for many moms. If you experience difficulties, contact your local La Leche League or your health care provider for assistance getting through the rough patches. To learn more about breastfeeding, click here.  

Are you breastfeeding?

UN’s message to mothers: breastfeeding can save your baby’s life [UN News Centre]
Breastfeeding [BabyWeekly]