Breastfeeding and World Health Month

The World Health Organization has designated April 7th as World Health Day and the full month of April as World Health Awareness Month.  This year’s theme is “My Health, My Right” and was “chosen to champion the right of everyone, everywhere to have access to quality health services, education, and information, as well as safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, decent working and environmental conditions, and freedom from discrimination.”

What does this have to do with breastfeeding you ask? 

To quote from an unknown source – “breastfeeding is a vital sign”. Human babies are designed and born to feed from the breast. Our abilities to provide expressed breastmilk and formula are a testament to the human ability to manipulate our environment. But are those good options? And what impact do those choices have on infants?

A mother’s choice on how to feed her infant is entirely personal but that choice should be INFORMED, meaning a mother should be educated on the benefits of breastfeeding, the risks of not breastfeeding, the risks of formula use. She should have access to quality classes and skilled providers who can educate and support her in her decisions. She should have access to PAID maternity leave, not only for her own healing time but to bond with her infant, creating the unique bond that reflects in and shapes every other relationship in that infant’s life. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine recently released a position statement on the impact of paid maternity and paternity leave on infant health and breastfeeding outcomes and provides comparisons across countries.

So is it a choice of breastmilk or formula? No, it is the right of the mother to have access to healthcare options that can educate her on the risks and benefits, what’s normal, what isn’t, what she can expect, support her in her decisions, and ensure she is taken care of herself with proper nutrition and general support as a giver of life.

What can you do? Support those organizations who strive to create these options. The organizations who push to change a healthcare system to be more supportive of mothers the critical role they play in infant health and development. The organizations that work to remove barriers to skilled services such as International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. 

Here is a list of such organizations:

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

Policy Center for Maternal Mental Health

Global Breastfeeding Collective

US Breastfeeding Committee 

National Lactation Consultant Alliance

This World Health Month, challenge yourself to reach out and support these organizations in any way you can, whether that be through signing petitions, letters to state and federal representatives, through advocacy, or monetary donations. We’d love to hear your support stories! Leave us a comment here on the blog.

Sincerely, Your ABC Family.

Post Author- Stephanie Glover, IBCLC, LPN 

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Post Author:

Stephanie Glover, LPN, IBCLC (Board Certified Lactation Consultant)

Contact Stephanie:  Send a Portal Message

Phone: 910-892-1333

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