World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7) was first celebrated in 1992 by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and now is observed in over 120 countries. Many organizations choose to celebrate breastfeeding throughout the entire month of August. On August 2011, United States Breastfeeding Committee officially declared that August is National Breastfeeding month. All of these celebrations reflect the importance of breastfeeding and the need of awareness among women and their families.
• Boosts infant’s immune system
• Reduces mother’s risks for ovarian and breast cancer
• Essential part of newborn’s development
• Adequate nutrition for the first 6 months
• Saves life and money
• The Clean and safe source of infant’s nutrition
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) emphasizes the value of breastfeeding by recommending exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months with continued breastfeeding along with the gradual introduction of food for one year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for 2 years.
For a new mom/baby, experience with breastfeeding and the support she receives during her hospital stay is significantly important to have her goal of breastfeeding fulfilled. In 1991, WHO and UNICEF established the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), which supports and recognizes facilities that offer the best level of care for infant feeding by following the BFHI’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. These steps are practices that hospitals can implement and can have their breastfeeding outcomes improved. OakBend Medical Center is a Texas Ten Steps designated facility.
Breastfeeding is a key element and its value is very important from the start of a life. As maternity health care professionals, we can’t run away from our responsibility of advocating and supporting breastfeeding. Our support is very essential and vital for the achievement of a preferred public health goal.
Sunu Joy, IBCLC RN
OakBend Medical Center Disclaimer: The contents of this article, including text and images, are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a medical service. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.