In the lead up to World Breastfeeding Week (Aug 1st-7th), the Australian Breastfeeding Association are launching a campaign to promote public breastfeeding, by teaching teens in schools that it is OK to breastfeed in public. It is pushing for boys … Continue reading
An amusing blog post from the Analytical Armadillo about the complicated rules of breast coverage.
Thanks for sharing.
A recent study published online in April in the journal Pediatrics, has shown that by giving local Midwives in Zambia basic training in essential newborn care, breastfeeding and diagnosing common illnesses, has already saved the lives of many infants at … Continue reading
How refreshing! I just finished reading the following article, ‘Talk breastfeeding with your OB’, that I came across online, written by an MD, who is not afraid to put up his hands and admit that his knowledge surrounding lactation is limited. Good for him, I say. In my book, there is no shame in admitting your own limitations. I believe it only makes you a stronger person. If only more people were able to do this. This only came to light when his wife decided she wanted to obtain her IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) certification. He admitted that he only remembers 2 lectures from medical school on lactation physiology, which he completed 27 YEARS AGO, in 1984!!
How much does your OB know about the physiology of breastfeeding or the best way to support nursing mamas? Who will you turn to if you need support?
Breastfeeding isn’t as easy as those glossy pictures on the cover of mothering magazines would have us believe. Breastfeeding is natural, but it is a skill that takes time to develop for both mom and baby. It takes a lot of dedication and determination, but however bumpy the journey, it is well worth the ride. It’s well documented that in addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first 6 months of life, breast milk helps protect your baby from a long list of chronic and acute illnesses, including ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, diabetes, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Every day really does count, in terms of the benefits of breastfeeding, not just for the baby, but for mom too.
With breastfeeding promotion and awareness on the rise, I can’t help but feel our mamas are being set up for a fall. Many women start out breastfeeding, but give up sooner than they had planned, even though breastfeeding is medically, nutritionally, and emotionally the absolute best thing you can do for your baby. ‘Many women struggle to breastfeed for as long as they might otherwise like, and many don’t receive the support that might make a difference‘ (Maria Quigley, National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Oxford University). According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) statistics, 3 out of 4 women initiate breastfeeding, suggesting that most women want to breastfeed. However rates at 3, 6 and 12 months remain stagnant and low. The CDC reports that just 43% of infants are still breastfeeding at 6 months of age, and only 13% are breastfeeding exclusively, nowhere near the recommendations from the World Health Organization (the WHO also recommend breastfeeding continues in addition to solids foods for at least the first year of life). These figures illustrate the struggle mothers continue to face with breastfeeding and that our support systems are failing our moms. Breastfeeding is an important public health issue and should be given a higher priority within our society. Parents of today are raising the future generation. How can we expect them to succeed when postpartum support within our maternity system is so poor? 50+ years ago, families stayed in the same towns they grew up in, extended family members all lived under one roof, and the women of the village supported each other when it came to childbirth, but in today’s world where family members are spread across different countries and continents, who do moms turn too? I think that women today are lacking a very important network of women in their lives.
We know that a mother’s decision whether or not to breastfeed, can be hugely influenced by her care provider, and hospitals and maternity units set a powerful example to new moms and families. The Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) is a global program sponsored by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), to ensure that all maternity units become centers for breastfeeding support. The BFI Initiative awards, encourages and supports birthing facilities that offer optimal levels of care for lactation, based on the UNICEF ‘10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding’. Any birthing facility, no matter how big or small, or how many births it supports, can apply for BFI status. The facility has to undergo external evaluation to demonstrate that the facility meets all of the ‘10 Steps’ requirements. However, in America today, only 4% of all babies are born in a BFI accredited facility.
If women in America were given the support they deserve, or even the same amount of postpartum support other women around the world receive, we would see a dramatic change in our breastfeeding rates, not only at birth, but rates at 3, 6 and 12 months would be significantly higher.
As the MD of the above article writes,
‘the best situation is one which all care providers are familiar with one another and are willing to work together on the patient’s behalf’.
- Even breastfeeding for a week is helpful! (blessingtree.wordpress.com)
- Booby Traps (smiffybaby.com)
- Comment is free readers on … breastfeeding | The people’s panel (guardian.co.uk)
- Antibodies and Boobies (ask.metafilter.com)
- Have your say on … breastfeeding (guardian.co.uk)