August is national breastfeeding months! Or international breastfeeding month if you like, since countries like Zimbabwe are also joining in. Breastfeeding is well known to be the optimal infant feeding choice, but many mothers worldwide still choose or are forced to feed formula for many and varying reasons. Read on to see what is happening worldwide to celebrate this month of breastfeeding awareness.
Zimbabwe came together with other countries in raising awareness about nursing during Breastfeeding Week this week. Over there, calls for a baby-friendly hospital initiative where mothers and babies room in together following birth were meant to increase the national breastfeeding rate, which is shockingly low at only 5.8 percent. UNICEF is pursuing a program to encourage exclusive breastfeeding in Zimbabwe, that is especially focused on younger mothers who are statistically less likely to nurse their babies. In this African country, breastfeeding is important in working toward the goal to wipe out extreme poverty and hunger, and reducing the mortality rate for children under five by two third by the year 2015.
In the United States, meanwhile, members of the La Leche League International gathered for a meeting called The Big Latch On. Mothers came together behind the Town Hall in Brookfield, and breastfed their babies together as a way of showing support and respect to other breastfeeding mothers. The La Leche League is well known for providing peer group support to encourage women to overcome breastfeeding difficulties. Not every mother is able to breastfeed, but many times a lack of support can mean that women run out to buy formula at the first sight of problems. Perhaps the biggest task at hand is promoting breastfeeding as something not only best, but normal and natural. That includes acceptance of breastfeeding in public and employers providing spaces where nursing mothers can pump for their babies.