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Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week

Posted on: 08/06/2020

Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week
by Deb Souchik
WIC nutritionist, Bradford Regional Medical Center

The first week of August marks the global celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, held annually from August 1-7.

The plan to start dedicating a week to the celebration of breastfeeding originated in 1992 through an initiative by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, in order to raise awareness and galvanize action on themes related to breastfeeding.

The WIC (Woman, Infants, and Children) program was started to help pregnant women, babies, and children up to the age of 5 get nutritious food and includes a comprehensive breastfeeding program. Part of this program is to organize and participate in annual community WBW events. After our last two annual celebrations of “Party in the Park” which featured games, food, farmer’s market, music and other community organizations sharing in the fun, things will look quite different this year.

During this unprecedented time, when maintaining good health and a strong immune system are at the forefront, making the decision about how to feed your baby is more important than ever. Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby because a mother’s body makes milk with her own living cells, specific to her baby. The composition of breast milk changes daily to match a baby’s needs. There are immunities in breast milk that are not found in formula. Babies who are fed their mother’s milk have less illnesses, including asthma, allergies, and childhood cancers, just to name a few. Women who breastfeed also protect themselves against chronic illnesses such as diabetes and breast cancer. The WHO recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months then up to two years and beyond with complementary foods. There are very rare instances that a mother is not able to give her baby her milk, and this should be discussed and determined with her doctor.

BRMC’s WIC staff are invested in helping women, who make the choice to breastfeed their babies, achieve their goal. We have expert lactation support on hand to answer questions and perform consultations. We have a comprehensive pump program that allows women to borrow a hospital-grade pump to increase or maintain a supply if there are latch issues or if there is a separation from the baby. We also provide pumps for women who need to return to work so their baby will continue to receive benefits from their milk. Women who are allowed to pump and are supported in their efforts at work have greater job satisfaction and fewer absences. Breastfeeding is a gift of love that lasts a lifetime. So, during this week of global WBW celebrations, that are certainly going to look a lot different this year, let’s take some time to acknowledge and honor our breastfeeding moms.

For questions about breastfeeding or to apply for the WIC program, call 814/362-4346.

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