World Breastfeeding Week 2020

Finally, something to celebrate in 2020! This week kicks off World Breastfeeding Week. The theme this year is “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet”.

We all know that breastfeeding gives babies the best possible start in life and that it forms a sustainable part of the food system. Breast feeding is the natural biological norm but sometimes there can be issues and times of challenges. This week we get to celebrate the amazing process of the human body to sustain another living being, celebrate the accomplishments that have been made in the breastfeeding community as far as education, research and support for breastfeeding and realize the great value that Lactation Counseling has in improving breastfeeding rates.

The WHO states it better than I could below:

Skilled counselling services can ensure that mothers and families receive this support, along with the information, the advice, and the reassurance they need to nourish their babies optimally. Breastfeeding counselling can help mothers to build confidence while respecting their individual circumstances and choices. Counselling can empower women to overcome challenges and prevent feeding and care practices that may interfere with optimal breastfeeding, such as the provision of unnecessary liquids, foods, and breastmilk substitutes to infants and young children.

Improving access to skilled counselling for breastfeeding can extend the duration of breastfeeding and promote exclusive breastfeeding, with benefits for babies, families and economies. Indeed, analysis indicates that increasing rates of exclusive breastfeeding could save the lives of 820 000 children every year, generating US $302 billion in additional income.

Skilled breastfeeding counselling can be provided by different actors including health care professionals, lactation counsellors and peer support providers, and in a variety of settings– in health facilities or clinics, through home visits or community programmes, in person or remotely. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important to find innovative solutions to ensure that access to these essential services is not disrupted and that families continue to receive the breastfeeding counselling they need.

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