World Breastfeeding Week 2014: A Winning Goal For Life !

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Welcome to Day 1 of World Breastfeeding Week! Breastfeeding, luckily, is less taboo than it was even a few years back. Social media has made it known and so more people are becoming accepting of the fact that breastfeeding is normal. But, many women are still not meeting their own breastfeeding goals.

What are breastfeeding goals?

Breastfeeding goals aren’t the 6 months of exclusive breast feeding that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends or the 2 years of breastfeeding and then as long as mutually beneficial as recommended by the World Health Association.

Breastfeeding goals are the personal goals that women have. These are the goals that women have for themselves. For me, I said I’d “try” to breastfeed and with support, research and telecommuting, I was able to do more than try. Of course, as time passed, it was no longer trying and quickly progressed to the APA and WHO goals.

Many women, though, do not have breastfeeding support.

Many women are not at baby friendly hospitals, and leave the hospital with little or even incorrect information on breastfeeding.

Women shouldn’t feel guilted into breastfeeding or embarrassed into not breastfeeding.

Women should be able to meet their goals, especially as the science behind WHY natural breast feeding is important for health and society.

Why is Breastfeeding a Goal for Life?

Breastfeeding helps both babies and women. While no one can say “all babies who are breastfed will X” or “women who breastfeeding will never get Y” there are generalizations that show, statistically that breastfeeding has positive health outcomes.

Breastfeeding helps two goals that the UN has made. Millenium Development Goal 4 is to Reduce Child Mortality. Millenium Development Goal is to Improve Maternal Health.

Some of the benefits include:

  • In Developed Countries, breastfeeding reduce SIDS by 36% (http://archive.ahrq.gov/downloads/pub/evidence/pdf/brfout/brfout.pdf)
  • 72 percent (95% CI 46% to 86%) reduction in the risk of hospitalization due to lower respiratory tract diseases in infants less than 1 year of age who were exclusively breastfed for 4 months or more.(AHRQ, pg 3)
  • association between a history of breastfeeding for at least 6 months duration and a reduction in the risk of both leukemia
  • studies suggests that there is an association between breastfeeding and a reduced risk of breast cancer in the mother.

These are all from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Breast feeding as a goal can be a life saver in poor countries.
Breast feeding as a goal can be a life saver in poor countries.

In under developed countries, the issues and needs for breastfeeding is even more pronounced. The risk of contaminated water causing diarrhea, or unsanitary conditions make not breastfeeding risky.

For many, formula is expensive. It leads to watering down of bottles, causing children to get not enough calories or fat. This is a risk even among the middle-class in the US and other “rich” countries.

Did you know?

According to UNICEF: Exclusive breastfeeding for up to six months was associated with a three to four fold decreased risk of transmission of HIV compared to mixed feeding breastfeeding in several African studies.

Women around the world need more than just information on the benefits, though, they need breastfeeding support.

Find a La Leche League near you.

Attend a Breastfeeding Nurse In this weekend.

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18 comments

  1. I actually breastfed my daughter for 13 months of her life. Exclusively for 6 and I enjoyed it and apparently so did she. She actually never got sick until recently. Guess it really did help.

     
  2. Wow! I didn’t know some of this actually. We were talking about this recently at Blogher. The issue we have I think is that some doctors don;t respond appropriately or support the family in what they need. I think we have a long way to go still for everyone to be acting in the child’s and family’s best interests. Not everyone can manage breastfeeding. But there should be more support plugged in so family can do their best for their child.

     
  3. When I got pregnant with my son I knew right away that I was going to breastfeed him. Just didn’t know that it was going to be hard at first. I was lucky to have nurses that were nice and help me. When I came home a nurse from the local clinic came by and also helped me and my son. After 3 weeks I didn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to pump anymore. He was off the bottle and only breastfed.

     
  4. Everyone should have the choice and help they need regardless of what they decide. I breastfed both of my boys and it was hard as I worked full time – pumping was a hardship and I often got into trouble for taking 15 minutes every morning and afternoon to pump though the smokers got to go out without issues – that always made me a little angry.

     
  5. I often wonder if I had a support system maybe I would have breast fed my daughters. I chose not to breast feed but it’s always great to learn and teach other Moms ths information.

     
  6. I breastfed both of mine back in the 80s for a year each. I was working full time after 6 weeks so it wasn’t easy but 12 hour shifts spread apart helped me out. I found a very large network of breastfeeding mothers even back in the early 80s so I am surprised that this is still such an issue.

     
  7. I hated the fact that I could not breastfeed (tried it for 3 months with both my kids). I did not produce enough (only 2 oz each day). I had to rely on formula and till this day, I feel guilty about it.

     

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