National Breastfeeding Month

August 2017

Every year, ITCA WIC local agencies highlight the importance of promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding by celebrating National Breastfeeding Month.  This year’s theme of Sustaining Breastfeeding Together celebrates working together for the common good, so that mothers are supported and protected in their breastfeeding efforts.   It continues to focus on sustainable development to better the planet for the generations to come.  Breastfeeding can have a beneficial effect on many different aspects of sustainability that may not be apparent.

Environment and Climate Change:

  • Breastfeeding uses less energy compared to making formula. It reduces the need for water, firewood and gas in the home.
  • Breastfeeding is earth friendly compared to formula feeding with zero packing, pollution and waste! Making formula involves dairy farming that stresses natural resources and adds to carbon emissions and climate change.
  • Breastfeeding creates less waste compared to formula feeding. Formula production and distribution lead to waste that pollutes the seas and affects marine life.

Nutrition, Food Security, and Poverty Reduction:

  • Breastfeeding is a natural and low-cost way of feeding babies and children. It is affordable for everyone and does not burden household budgets compared to formula feeding.  Breastfeeding can contribute to poverty reduction.
  • Breastmilk is FREE.  Not breastfeeding results in financial losses of about $302 billion each year. Families worldwide spend about $54 billion every year on formula.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond provide high quality nutrients and adequate energy that can help prevent hunger, undernutrition and obesity. Breastfeeding means food security for infants.

Survival, Health, and Well-being:

  • Breastfeeding improves the health, development and survival of infants and children.  It helps to improve health and wellbeing of mothers, both in the short and long term.
  • Breastfeeding reduces a woman’s risk of breast and cervical cancer. In fact, 20,000 deaths due to breast cancer could be averted if mothers breastfed.
  • Breastfeeding is essential for readiness to learn. Breastfeeding promotes brain development and helps with learning.

Breastfeeding promotion in the community and workplace can help improve all these aspects, but it requires collaboration and effort.  The more it is talked about, the more effective these messages will become.  WIC works to promote a positive attitude towards breastfeeding.  Let’s work to promote breastfeeding to help the lives of mothers, children, our planet and future generations to come.

For more information regarding World Breastfeeding Week, check out the following resources:

National Breastfeeding Month Infographic

WABA – World Breastfeeding Week – http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/

World Health Organization (WHO) – http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/

 

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