Starting Wednesday, August 1st, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) will host World Breastfeeding Week 2018, a global initiative aimed at educating and promoting the multifaceted benefits of mothers breastfeeding their babies. The three areas of emphasis regarding this year’s World Breastfeeding Week are “(1) preventing malnutrition in all its forms, (2) ensuring food security, even in times of crisis, and (3) breaking the cycle of poverty.” These three focal points are significant ways that breastfeeding can have a positive impact on societies across the globe.
Breastfeeding is a cost-free, environmentally-free way to give your baby all the nutrition he or she needs. Breastfeeding has a significant positive impact on both mother and baby, with health, social, and economic benefits. Some of the health benefits for baby include prevention of malnutrition and increased immunity from certain illnesses; other benefits are improved intelligence and emotional bonding with the mother. Benefits for a breastfeeding mother include reduced risk of certain cancers and hypertension. WABA, and related organizations like UNICEF, advocate for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, followed by supplementing until 2 years of age.
At Maternal and Family Health Services, we foster a positive, judgment-free environment in which new moms can learn how to safely breastfeed their babies. All MFHS WIC Nutrition Centers provide clients with breastfeeding education and support. And numerous WIC Nutrition locations participate in the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program. This program gives breastfeeding WIC moms the opportunity to receive support and tips from a former client who previously breastfed and is now a passionate advocate. We strive to inform families in Northeast Pennsylvania about breastfeeding as the perfect infant food, and change public perceptions about breastfeeding.