Motherhood is a truly unique experience. What else in life is simultaneously excruciatingly painful and miraculously enlivening, deeply exhausting and continuously rewarding? To add to the beautiful chaos, between the major life transition, hormones, constant lack of sleep, and innate bond you may feel with your little peanut, becoming a mother likely came with a full spectrum of raw, sometimes conflicting emotions.
And on top of it all, you were now fully responsible for this little life and all of the decisions – big and small – affecting it for the next several years (at least).
One of those first decisions was how you would feed your baby – assuming your or your baby’s medical situation didn’t make the decision for you. There are a lot of philosophies around this seemingly simple, fundamental part of life, but in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, we’re going to focus on breastfeeding, offering some helpful breastfeeding tips and resources to help you along your journey.
What is World Breastfeeding Week
World Breastfeeding Week has been celebrated the first seven days of August since 1992. It commemorates the 1990 Innocenti Declaration, adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The declaration, with the subtitle, “On the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding,” establishes the 4-6 month goal for breastfeeding many new moms are familiar with:
“As a global goal for optimal maternal and child health and nutrition, all women should be enabled to practise [sic] exclusive breastfeeding and all infants should be fed exclusively on breast milk from birth to 4-6 months of age. Thereafter, children should continue to be breastfed, while receiving appropriate and adequate complementary foods, for up to two years of age or beyond. This child-feeding ideal is to be achieved by creating an appropriate environment of awareness and support so that women can breastfeed in this manner.” (Innocenti Declaration)
The annual tribute to lactation is intended to raise awareness of both the proven benefits of breastfeeding infants for at least the first four months, when possible, and resources – like the Bamboobies Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks (free to download here) – available to help new mothers through the sometimes complicated, frustrating, or uncomfortable process. The idea is to promote supporting mothers to continue breastfeeding as long as they would like to – something that isn’t always easy with work and societal demands and expectations.
The theme for World Breastfeeding Week 2021 is, “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility,” with a focus on how breastfeeding “contributes to the survival, health and wellbeing of all.” The campaign aims to improve widespread support of breastfeeding across health systems, workplaces, and communities.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
While the most important thing is that your baby is fed and happy, there are undeniable benefits to breastfeeding – for both your baby and you. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding when possible. Here are just a few benefits (you can find a more complete list here):
Benefits for Baby
- Stronger immune system (through infancy and beyond) and fewer common illnesses such as colds, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and ear infections
- Fewer gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, constipation, and reflux
- Better vision
- Lower rates of infant mortality and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Lower risk of a number of potential maladies throughout their lives, including (but not limited to): allergies, eczema, asthma, childhood cancer, diabetes, respiratory illness, cavities, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease
- Improved brain maturation
Benefits for Mom
- Helps the uterus contract and return to its pre-pregnancy size
- Reduces postpartum bleeding
- Contributes to postpartum weight loss, as building and maintaining a milk supply burns an average of 500 extra calories each day
- Reduced risk of urinary tract infections, anemia, and postpartum depression
- Breastfeeding is more convenient for travel, as it’s always the right temperature (and doesn’t require a clean bottle!)
- Lifetime reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, endometriosis, osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease
The bottom line is, if you can nurse your baby, it can be worth finding the breastfeeding tips you need in order to try. Bamboobies Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks (download here) is a great starting point!
Despite the advantages your little one (and you!) could enjoy if you choose to exclusively feed him/her breastmilk, the decision is not always straightforward or easy. Even if you have no medical barriers and want to breastfeed, you might run into challenges that could have you questioning if the effort is worth it. Breastfeeding can be uncomfortable or even painful at first, some babies take some time to figure out how to latch, some mothers struggle with their be the only one available to feed a little being that is hungry every few hours – day and night.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t resources and solutions available to help you down your breastfeeding path!
- A professional lactation consultant can observe and personally guide you through nursing your infant, looking for possible concerns and helping you find the most comfortable and effective position for you.
- Joining a breastfeeding support group can give you a safe space to talk about any struggles you’re having with others in a similar position.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers fact sheets and infographics to help you navigate the in’s and out’s of cleaning your breast pump and properly storing and preserving breast milk.
When it comes to comfort and security throughout your breastfeeding journey, Bamboobies has you covered. From a wide assortment of nursing pads to all breastfeeding essentials (including apparel, nipple cream, laundry and wet bags for your breast pads, lubricants, and more), we want to ensure you’re set up for success on your breastfeeding journey.
If breastfeeding and/or pumping is part of your plan, stock up on everything you need to stay dry and comfortable, and download our Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks guide for advice, examples of breastfeeding holds to try, and common breastfeeding terms explained.
You’ve got this, Mama. And we're here to support you – this week, and every week.
World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action: World Breastfeeding Week
World Breastfeeding Week: Innocenti Declaration
Awareness Days: World Breastfeeding Week 2021
World Breastfeeding Week: World Breastfeeding Week 2021
American Academy of Pediatrics: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk
Cleveland Clinic: The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby & for Mom
La Leche League International: Breastfeeding Support Facebook Group
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Breastfeeding