Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Did you know it was World Breastfeeding Week? The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and advocates for breastfeeding in more than 170 countries are celebrating WBW for the 19th year with the theme, "Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps. The Baby-Friendly Way".

Why is this important? Well, according to researchers, the best feeding option globally is the initiation of breastfeeding within the first half hour of life, exclusive breastfeeding for a full six months and continued breastfeeding through the second year or beyond. Notice, the second part there -- "exclusive breastfeeding for a full six months." That kind of contradicts the popular advice many mothers are given to start giving their infants cereal to help them sleep through the night -- sorry if this sounds harsh, but... that's a bunch of rubbish!! Introducing food too early can be harmful to your children in so many ways, including causing food allergies that may stay with them for the rest of their lives!

According to the WABA, breastfeeding improves short and long term maternal and child health; and thus contribute to the attainment of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) 4: Reduce Child Mortality and 5: Improve Maternal Health, to which many countries and agencies are committed.

There has been a significant reduction in child deaths around the world, according to UNICEF, due in part to the practive of early and exclusive breastfeeding.

So...should it be illegal to not breastfeed your baby? Well, according to super model, Gisele Bundchen, the answer is yes. She is pushing for a law making it mandatory to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of a child's life. I wonder how that would have worked for Octomom?!

While I am a firm believer in breastfeeding as the best choice for new moms, I recognize it is not the only choice. Neither should it be. If the government steps in here, we have a real problem, Gisele!!

That said, below are the ten steps birthing facilities around the world can implement to assist women who decide to nurse their babies. While I think the tips are indeed helpful, I do believe there has to be a respect given to the women in regards to whatever choice they make, for whatever reason.

Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

Every facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants should:
  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy. 
  3. Inform all pregnant mothers about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed, and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk unless medically indicated. 
  7. Practice rooming-in - allow mothers and infants to remain together - 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to beastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

Keeping it healthy,


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