Can We Make Breastfeeding Popular?

Mother Breastfeeding Baby In Nursery

Over the last couple of days news articles on breastfeeding’s benefits were published worldwide. And majority of women and men agree that nursing with breast milk is a good choice but only a working mother knows how hard is to accomplish that goal. So the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is making the World Breastfeeding Week 2013 all about the support they need (and deserve!), focusing on the peer support. What can we do to make it more popular?

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated internationally in over 174 countries worldwide August 1-7 each year. “The key to best breastfeeding practices is continued day-to-day support for the breastfeeding mother within her home and community (WABA).” Anne Batterjee of La Leche League International focus: “A peer counselor is an invaluable partner with mothers in their journey through parenthood, helping them gain confidence in their ability to breastfeed.”

Breastfeeding practice was, of course, naturally common within our hunter-gatherer ancestors, despite their daily obligations – which, believe me, were not simple ones. Then, what is different? The schedule. They weren’t driven by clocks and deadlines, but by tasks which depended on season, and within that their time and obligation were more flexible than it is today. With Western industrial development came sleeping and feeding schemes, which were harmonized with working defined schedules. And babies aren’t born with industrialization software, they follow their own pace, not the hands on the clock, or a project’s closing date. Keeping up with timely based working obligations, made breastfeeding’s natural patterns hard to maintain. And the practice shows that in many cases, this can easily lead to ending of nursing with breast milk, no matter how hard mother is trying to do her best. Additionally, the mother had sustainable help from the whole community – through emotional and practical backing. So what can we do to make breastfeeding more popular today? Be a modern non-maternal helper and support them in any way you can.

WABA defined five circles of support: Family and Social Network, Healthcare, Workplace and Employment, Government/Legislation and Response to Crisis or Emergency. So, recognize your role. Be a supporting husband, sister, friend, and neighbor. Help a new mother in any way you can. Maybe cook her meals or go to the grocery store instead of her. Share your maternal experience with new moms. Don’t make her feel the shame for feeding her child in public. Be a good colleague and give her some understanding due to the sleepless nights she experiences. Be an accountable health worker and provide her with adequate information and advice, especially in the beginning. Be an empathetic priest and help her not to feel guilty for not being able to be a super-mom (because nobody can do that). Be a humane employer, think about how you would like your wife, mother, yourself to be treated in the workplace during this important transitional life phase. Be a responsible state representative, pass the laws that work for the mothers of your state, not against them.

Think about the bigger picture. Healthier children and mothers, both physically and emotionally, mean healthier and happier families, so both community and workplace can benefit because of it, on the short and long term. Be proud of participating in the movement of making  breastfeeding popular!


Written by: Milica Zujko