August 1-7th is World Breastfeeding Week and the entire month of August is recognized in the United States as National Breastfeeding Month. Regardless of how long you choose to celebrate, the fact is that breastfeeding is a normal event that follows pregnancy and birth. Childbirth educators play a key role in helping families to be ready and prepared for breastfeeding their baby.
The theme of World Breastfeeding Week is Breastfeeding: A Key to Sustainable Development. On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. Breastfeeding plays a key role in helping the people of the world reach these goals by 2030 or before.
You can visit the World Breastfeeding Week home page to see how breastfeeding can directly impact each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hover over each goal to see the tie in with breastfeeding. The organizers of World Breastfeeding Week recognize that breastfeeding is a key component of sustainable development.
The United States Breastfeeding Committee, the organizers of National Breastfeeding Month have named 2016 the year of "Reflecting Back...Looking Forward" as it has been five years since the first National Breastfeeding Month took place. Since then, there has been considerable growth and progress in promoting the benefits of breastfeeding to communities, governments, and consumers so that infants and children can receive the proper food and nutrition that can improve health and save lives.
Both of these organizations offer resources to help promote breastfeeding, including images designed specifically for social media, suggestions for content on your own blogs and lots of shareables for you to use. Take a moment to check out what both of these websites offer and consider using them for your own purposes.
Childbirth educators are in a unique position to prepare families for successful breastfeeding with education and information. Just like educators normalize and share information on safe and healthy birth, breastfeeding is one of the events that occur as a conclusion of the pregnancy, labor and birth. We have established a relationship with families who are then open to receive information on breastfeeding from a place of mutual respect and understanding. We can weave the topic of breastfeeding throughout our entire childbirth class, for example when discussing anatomy, third stage, recovery, postpartum and more.
In class, childbirth educators have the ear of both the pregnant and non-pregnant person. We can demonstrate the key role that the partner/support person has in supporting the breastfeeding relationship and helping with breastfeeding success.
Childbirth educators can provide resources for lactation consultants, breastfeeding support groups, other professionals, books and online tools that can help new families deal with any potential issues that may arise. Having this information handy and familar before a problem presents itself can be a great relief for new families.
Breastfeeding education is a critical part of a childbirth preparation course, and childbirth educators are in a unique position to deliver evidence based information to the families we work with in engaging and effective activites that promote breastfeeding as a great opportunity to meet their new babies' nutritional and comfort needs.
Some of my favorite breastfeeding resources that you may want to share with your families;
- Lamaze International's online breastfeeding class: Breastfeeding Basics: From Birth to Back to Work
- Lamaze Video: Benefits of Breastfeeding
- Lamaze Video: Healthy Birth Practice Six: Keep Your Baby with You After Birth
- The Right Support for Breastfeeding tip sheet
- Lamaze Webinar: Making it Work! Breastfeeding Tips for the Working Mom
- Lamaze Webinar: Moms, Babies, Milk and the Law
- Lamaze Infographic: Wait for Baby's Weight and Bond With Baby First
- From Pregnancy to Parenting Lamaze App has a breastfeeding component to help families.
Science & Sensibility posts on breastfeeding:
- Changing the Conversation about Breastfeeding and Sexuality
- Preparing Mothers for Breastfeeding after a Cesarean - The Educator's Role
- A Look at the Research: The Link Between Epidural Analgesia and Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding: The First Few Weeks of Life
- Exclusively Breastfeeding Mothers Get More Sleep: Another Look at Nighttime Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression
- Instructor Has a Clear Bias Toward Breastfeeding!
- Milkscreen Breastfeeding Assessment Calculator; Reducing Mothers' Breastfeeding Confidence
- Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators - Nine Ideas for Using Knit Breasts in Breastfeeding Class
- Teach Me How to Breastfeed Rap Video
- Breastfeeding: Join the Boob-olution
- Ameda Your Baby Knows How to Latch On
- Ameda Your Baby Knows How to Latch On in Spanish
Lamaze is hosting a Twitter Chat on August 18th. Breastfeeding - Top Tips for Success can be found at #LamazeChat on 8/18 at 9 PM EST. Consider joining the conversation.
How are you honoring World Breastfeeding Week and Natifor alonal Breastfeeding Month? Are you hosting any activities, writing a blog post? Sharing some images? Let us know in the comments section and thank you for all you do to support breastfeeding locally, nationally and internationally.