World Breastfeeding Week 2018
Though breastfeeding is one of the most natural behaviors to occur after childbirth, only 55% of the infants in India are exclusively breastfed. The reason for this trend is a lack of guidance, misinformation, poor maternal health, lack of time and taboos associated with breastfeeding.
The World Breastfeeding Week is observed each year with a vision to encourage exclusive breastfeeding, make people aware of the importance of breastfeeding and to make the society more supportive of breastfeeding. Collaborative actions of the WHO and UNICEF also attract the governments worldwide to invest in maternity facilities. The observance of a week dedicated to breastfeeding awareness also brings us closer to achieving WHO’s goal of increasing the rate of exclusive breastfeeding to at least 50% by 2025.
The theme for world breastfeeding week 2018 is foundation of life. Breastfeeding is essential as Breast Milk contains vitamins, proteins, and fats essential for the baby’s development that are not present in adequate proportions in infant milk formulas. Colostrum produced during late pregnancy contains antibodies essential for baby’s immunity. Furthermore, Breast Feeding reduces the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type II diabetes and postpartum depression in the mother. A child that has been exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life develops lifesaving immunity against many pathogens and also maintains better overall health.
Recently, the Delhi High court issued a notice to various authorities and the Delhi Government seeking an in-depth report in four weeks regarding the lack of feeding spaces and facilities in public spaces. This is an encouraging step taken by the Judiciary to encourage the Government to invest in infrastructure that caters to the needs of breastfeeding mothers encouraging them to breast feed even while outside the home. The society should be educated and taboos associated to this natural process should be eradicated. Showcasing documentaries, educational videos, and plays around the topic of breastfeeding would further increase the awareness and initiate a discussion on this topic.
Additionally, there are now several products available in the market which are making breast feeding easier for mothers. These products are aimed at catering to any need or complication that might arise while breastfeeding.
- Breast Pump – Breast pumps are devices used by lactating women to mechanically extract and store breast milk. It works on the principle of a baby’s natural sucking rhythm. Breast pumps allow for a collection of pumped breast milk for storage to feed the baby even when the mother is not around the baby. Use of a breast pump ensures that the mother can rest or go back to work while the infant is still able to get the essential nutrients of the breast milk.
- Storage and Feeding Products – These products ensure that the pumped breast milk is stored safely and hygienically. Breast Milk Storage Bags, Supplemental Nursing System, Breast Milk Bottles, Colostrum containers, Special Needs Feeder, and membranes allow for safe and sanitary storage of the breast milk.
- Breast Care Products – Many women face a few complications as a result of breastfeeding such as soreness, discomfort and skin changes. These products help alleviate symptoms related to postpartum skin changes and breastfeeding. Nipple Shields, Contact Nipple Shields, Disposable Nursing Pads, Washable Nursing Pads, and Hydrogel pads are all designed to make breastfeeding a more comfortable procedure for the mother.
More and more women including celebrity moms, politicians, and artists are now encouraging breast feeding and sensitizing the society towards its importance. However, it’s not just a women’s issue and the society, the governments, and worldwide authorities have to come together to achieve WHO’s goal of increasing the rate of exclusively breastfed children to 50% by 2025 and making sure no child is denied a strong foundation of life due to misinformation, taboos or ignorance.