Dear Moms and Supporters Worldwide,
Happy World Breastfeeding Week! This special occasion, observed from August 1st to August 7th, is a time to honor the natural bond between mothers and babies through the wonderful journey of breastfeeding. As we come together to celebrate this momentous event, let us take a moment to reflect on the countless benefits of breastfeeding for both infants and mothers (1).
🌟 The Power of Breastfeeding 🌟
Breastfeeding is more than just a means of providing nourishment; it is an act of love, care, and compassion. Numerous scientific studies (1, 2, 3) highlight the incredible benefits of breastfeeding:
🤱 For Infants:
- Optimal Nutrition: Breast milk is a unique blend of essential nutrients that promotes healthy growth and development (1).
- Immune System Boost: It provides vital antibodies that protect babies from infections and diseases, boosting their immune systems (2).
- Digestive Health: Breast milk is easily digestible, reducing the likelihood of digestive issues in infants (3).
- Bonding and Comfort: The skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding fosters a strong emotional bond between mother and baby, creating a sense of security and comfort (1).
🤱 For Mothers:
- Postpartum Healing: Breastfeeding triggers the release of oxytocin, promoting uterine contractions and aiding in postpartum healing (2).
- Reduced Risk of Certain Diseases: Breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer and may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (3, 4, 5).
- Emotional Well-being: The act of breastfeeding releases hormones that enhance the mother's emotional well-being and reduce stress (1).
🌈 Supporting Infant Nutrition: A Collective Responsibility 🌈
- Create a Supportive Environment: Provide inclusive spaces that support all feeding choices for infants, ensuring comfort and respect for all mothers (6).
- Educate and Raise Awareness: Share accurate information about various feeding options, dispelling myths and promoting understanding and acceptance of diverse choices (7).
- Support Moms: Encourage and support mothers in their chosen feeding method, offering reassurance and helpful advice regardless of their choice (8).
- Global Solidarity: Let's unite as a global community to advocate for inclusive policies that support infant nutrition and respect individual feeding choices (6).
As we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, let us remember that supporting infant nutrition is a collective responsibility. While breastfeeding is valuable, we acknowledge and respect the choices of all mothers, including those who may not breastfeed. We can all play a part in promoting optimal nutrition for infants, irrespective of the feeding method.
(1) Horta BL, Victora CG. Long-term effects of breastfeeding: A systematic review. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2013.
(2) Ballard O, Morrow AL. Human milk composition: Nutrients and bioactive factors. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2013;60(1):49-74.
(3) Victora CG, Bahl R, Barros AJD, et al. Breastfeeding in the 21st century: Epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. Lancet. 2016;387(10017):475-490.
(4) Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer. Breast cancer and breastfeeding: Collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries, including 50,302 women with breast cancer and 96,973 women without the disease. Lancet. 2002;360(9328):187-195.
(5) Rollins NC, Bhandari N, Hajeebhoy N, et al. Why invest, and what it will take to improve breastfeeding practices? Lancet. 2016;387(10017):491-504.
(6) Tarrant M, Dodgson JE, Wu KM. The impact of fathers on breastfeeding by Hong Kong Chinese women. Health Promot Int. 2010;25(1):58-67. doi:10.1093/heapro/dap045. (7) Brown A, Raynor P, Lee M. Maternal control of child-feeding during breast and formula feeding in the first 6 months postpartum. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2011;24(2):177-186.