Breastfeeding Promoted and Celebrated Globally

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During Aug. 1-7, 2016, women from more than 120 countries from all across the globe celebrated the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). Mothers of all nationalities participated in worldwide events, to promote breastfeeding globally.

According to “Daily Mail,” the most important event that took place during WBW is the Global Big Latch On. The movement has taken place annually since 2005, when it first happened in New Zealand. In 2015, over 15,000 women engaged in a major nursing session in over 650 locations across the world. This year, mothers and their infants repeated the process, on August 5 and 6, to be an inspiration to those who are afraid to breastfeed and to gain acceptance from those who feel that breastfeeding in public is repugnant.

As “The Monitor” stated, 30 mothers gathered in McAllen, Texas, to nurse their babies in unison with the global initiative. The event took place on Aug. 6, 2016, at the McAllen Public Library’s Children’s Department. The women participated in the movement to globally promote breastfeeding and its benefits.

The same altruistic idea brought Romanian women to meet at the Village Museum in Bucharest. Dozens of mothers, dressed in traditional blouses, fed their children publicly to promote the freedom of providing nourishment via the breast. According to “Daily Mail,” in Romania, breastfeeding does not appear to be seen as a benefit, for both women and kids, since only 12.6 percent of the “mothers still breastfeed their babies at six months.”

Among thousands of women, moms from California, India, Colombia, and the Philippines joined the Global Big Latch On initiative, that took place during WBW. The participants held signs with messages like “Breast is best” or “Breastfeeding is nation building.”

Benefits of Breast Milk

During the 2016 WBW, moms tried to promote breastfeeding globally, showing the benefits of nursing young children with the milk of their mothers. In addition to the women who participated in the Global Big Latch On movement, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) also promote breast nourishing for the first six months of life. However, according to “Daily Mail,” only 34 percent of “infants under six months are exclusively breastfed.”

In an article published in 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated the benefits of human milk. It appears that nurturing decreases the risks of respiratory infections, diarrhea, diabetes, and leukemia. Also, there is a lower risk of asthma and obesity in adulthood for the kids who benefited of human milk.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, breast milk has an optimal balance of fat, sugar, water and protein needed for the baby’s development. Its compounds allow the growth factors and the immunological substances to protect the infant against diseases.

Moreover, lactating has advantages for the mothers too. Long-term benefits for the women include lower risk of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, mothers who breastfeed experience better uterus shrinkage, weight loss and less postnatal depression.

Public Breastfeed Denied

Despite its benefits, breastfeeding still stirs negative reactions. For example, a mother was not allowed to feed her infant in an empty changing room of a store. The incident happened on Aug. 7, 2016, in Montreal, Canada. According to CTV News, the employee of the store refused to let the woman use one of the changing rooms to breastfeed her baby even though it was empty at the moment.

Another incident appeared to have happened on Aug. 4, 2016, in Kent, U.K. A woman accused a mother of squirting her with milk after being asked to move into a private place to breastfeed. The conflict, posted on a social media page, stirred reactions from many users. However, in the end, a “Facebook” user admitted that he set the story to have fun.

By Bianca-Ramona Dumitru
Edited by Cathy Milne


American Academy of Pediatrics: Breastfeeding and the use of human milk
CTV: Breastfeeding mother denied in Marie Claire clothing boutique at PVM
Daily Mail: ‘Breast is best!’ Thousands of mothers take to the streets to mark World Breastfeeding Week simultaneously feeding their babies to promote the health benefits of mum’s milk
RT: Story of breastfeeding mother accused of ‘squirting’ milk baffles internet
The Monitor: Global event promotes breastfeeding
WomensHealth: Mothers and Children Benefit from Breastfeeding

Image Courtesy of dailycloudt’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License