World Breastfeeding Week is a wonderful way to highlight the importance of breastfeeding. Read on to learn all about this worldwide celebration celebrating mother and baby.
Nature’s Perfect Baby Food
Breastfeeding can be a wonderful way to strengthen the bond between a mother and a child. It also offers perfect nutrition for a growing baby, helping prevent both malnutrition and obesity later in life. The World Health Organization even recommends breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.
Studies by the WHO indicate that breastfeeding still benefits the baby, even if the mother has COVID. So it’s the perfect pandemic-proof nutrition for babies.
Despite these benefits, studies show that only 37% of infants under six months in developing countries are exclusively breastfed, so there’s a big gap between the recommendation and reality. While breastfeeding isn’t always possible for many, and formula can also provide good nutrition for babies, there’s still a big gap between the WHO’s recommendation and reality.
So for nearly thirty years, World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) has been engaging members of different communities to promote the benefits of breastfeeding around the world.
What Is World Breastfeeding Week?
World Breastfeeding Week is a global campaign to raise awareness and galvanize action on themes related to breastfeeding. The theme for World Breastfeeding Week 2022 is “Educate and Support,” and letting mothers know about the benefits of breastfeeding can be vital. Nursing mothers can provide their infants with all the nutrients they need through breastmilk, so much of the time, they don’t need formula to supplement the baby’s nutrition. Aggressive marketing of breastfeeding substitutes can often confuse new mothers, which is why education is so important.
When Is World Breastfeeding Week?
The first World Breastfeeding Week began in 1992 following UNICEF’s Innocenti Declaration of 1990, which formally recognized the importance of breastfeeding for children’s health worldwide. The declaration also led to the formation of the World Alliance of Breastfeeding Action (WABA) in 1991. Today, WABA and its members continue to sponsor this week, beginning August 1 and continuing through August 7, 2022.
On the 30th anniversary of World Breastfeeding Week, the need for more education and awareness remains as important as ever.
National Breastfeeding Month Events
In addition to this week, WABA has encouraged additional campaigns that also promote healthy breastfeeding. The USBC (United States Breastfeeding Council) recognizes the entire month of August as National Breastfeeding Month in the United States. The theme of National Breastfeeding Month 2022 is “Together We Do Great Things,” and each week has a different theme, including World Breastfeeding Week, Indigenous Milk Medicine Week, Asian American Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian Breastfeeding Week, and Black Breastfeeding Week.
Black Breastfeeding Week takes place on August 25-31, 2022, and encourages black mothers in the United States to breastfeed. This is the 10th anniversary of Black Breastfeeding Week, and the theme for 2022 is “10 Years: A New Foundation.” This foundation includes “racial equality, cultural empowerment, and community engagement.” Event organizers have an extensive list of local and virtual events across the United States to raise awareness and support.
Even if you’re not able to attend a WBW event in person, there are still several ways to promote breastfeeding in your community. You can educate yourself on its importance or donate money or resources to organizations that encourage breastfeeding.
On a smaller scale, you can simply encourage mothers you know. They’re doing their best to care for their babies, and having a small child is no easy task. Especially during these difficult times, offering your love and support to those who need it might be the best thing you can do to support the cause.