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World Breastfeeding Week, celebrated by 120 countries worldwide Aug. 1-7, is just days away. This year’s theme is “Mother Support: Going for the Gold” and, in my opinion, is such an important one. Sure we can drive home the fact that breast is best and stress the numerous health benefits for both baby and mom, but if a mom don’t have the support she needs, the pressure from well-intentioned relatives or friends, the pressures of keeping a job, and the convenience and availability of f*rmula, coupled with the fatigue of caring for a newborn, can quickly become overwhelming and make it all too easy to give up.
The Village Midwife writes: “The WABA (World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action) World Breastfeeding Week program this year is promoting the Global Initiative for Mother Support, and is using the Olympic Games circles to remind us of the need for ‘circles of support.’”
I feel very fortunate that I’ve had a circle of support for the past 4+ years I’ve been breastfeeding. My mom, who breastfed me and my siblings, encouraged me, and I had the support of several friends I met through my Hypnobirthing instructor who were all breastfeeding and parenting similarly to me. While I was lucky in that I never had any serious problems with breastfeeding (knock wood), it was still wonderful to have a group of like-minded friends to turn to if the need arose.
La Leche League in the USA has a list of helpful suggestions for mothers, fathers, employers and just about everyone to help support breastfeeding mothers:
You can “go for the gold” when you –
- give a mother the phone number of an LLL Leader.
- tell a first-time breastfeeding mother she is doing just fine.
- bring the new mother a nutritious snack and a big glass of water.
- as an employer, accommodate a mother’s need to pump with a private comfortable space.
- as the baby’s father, intercede with family and friends so that mother and baby can feel confident
- write to legislators to support the enactment of laws supporting paid maternity leave and mother-friendly workplaces.
- contact an emergency relief organization and request training to help in emergency situations, especially in breastfeeding support.
- take care of your health and nutritional needs during pregnancy and lactation.
- set up or join a network of lactation experts in your community.
- provide transportation to a mother to attend an LLL meeting or visit a lactation consultant.
- advocate for legislation that enacts the provisions of the WHO/UNICEF Code of Marketing.
- ask for support and offer support to others.
As WBW approaches, there will undoubtedly be more Internet buzz about it, but here are a few WBW/breastfeeding-related contests I rounded up.
Food blogger Linda at Make Life Sweeter! is holding a Got Milk? recipe contest to help promote and celebrate World Breastfeeding Week.
The contest is open to bloggers and non-bloggers alike. All participants have to do is “Prepare a sweet dish with milk as an ingredient.
You can use any type of milk (cow, goat, sheep, …), non-dairy is allowed as long as is something that is generally substituted for milk.” After breastfeeding her two children for a combined total of 3 1/2 years, Linda says the reason for the contest is, “if this event will motivate even one mother (to-be) to breastfeed or breastfeed for a longer time it will make me feel like I’ve made a difference.” You can read the full requirements for entering the contest over at Make Life Sweeter! The deadline to enter is Aug. 7.
Breast Pumps Direct, a breast pump and accessories distributor, is holding a story contest for any woman who wants to share a story about her breastfeeding experience(s). The winner will receive a gift basket loaded with great stuff from Breast Pumps Direct. For more information, including rules, about the contest, visit www.breastpumpsdirect.com. The deadline to enter is Aug. 7.
There was also a breastfeeding photo and video contest recently held at official World Breastfeeding Week site. Here are the photo contest winners, which are just amazingly beautiful, and the video contest winners.
How about you? Will you blog about your breastfeeding experience or otherwise promote World Breastfeeding Week? What will you do to support breastfeeding mothers? If you do blog about it, please leave a comment with the link back to your post.
KellyMom – one of my personal favorites for breastfeeding information
La Leche League International
Ask Dr. Sears : Breastfeeding
Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative – a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Childrenâ€™s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for lactation
Ban the Bags – a national campaign to stop f*rmula company marketing in maternity hospitals
To help support breastfeeding moms, I’m giving away a copy of two breastfeeding books – The ABCs of Breastfeeding by Stacy H. Rubin and Mama Knows Breast: A beginner’s guide to breastfeeding by Andi Silverman. Both are wonderfully informative books and would make a great gift for any new mom or mom-to-be to assist her on her breastfeeding journey.
To be eligible to win, simply leave a comment with a helpful piece of advice for breastfeeding moms or a breastfeeding story AND let me know which book you prefer. There will be one winner for each book. The deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9.
This giveaway is part of the ginormous Bloggy Giveaway Carnival. Go check it out. :)
Cross-posted on BlogHer