The first week of August is celebrated as World Breastfeeding Week worldwide. It is a celebration of Motherhood and the healthy life of the newborn.
The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2022 is: ‘Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support.’ Scientifically breastfed babies are more intelligent and healthier than babies who were not breastfed in childhood. Breast Milk is considered as the best food for newly born babies as it contains antibodies, which are essential to cure babies of severe diseases.
The main objective of celebrating the WBW is to educate parents about the benefits of breastfeeding and encourage them to adopt it.
Barriers to Breastfeeding
- Lack of knowledge about breast feeding: Most women know that breast milk provides the right nutrition for babies but are unaware of how important it is for normal infant growth, development, and health. Many have had little contact with women who successfully breastfeed and do not know what to expect. Breastfeeding is something that has to be learned by mother and baby.
- misconception about formula Milk: Many women do not know about the risks associated with formula feeding and the hazards of improper use.
- Breastfeeding is not the social norm in many communities: We live in a culture where breastfeeding is undervalued. In many communities bottle feeding is viewed as the usual way to feed babies.
- Poor family and social support: Lack of knowledge, negative attitudes, and beliefs about breastfeeding by others (partners, family members, support people, and the general public) can be unsupportive.
- Embarrassment about feeding in public: Many women feel embarrassed about breastfeeding in public. Despite anti-discrimination legislation, many women are still asked to stop breastfeeding or leave public spaces if they wish to continue breastfeeding. Unsupportive attitudes by community members, local services, and businesses can lead women to give up breastfeeding.
- Low Breast Milk Supply: A true low milk supply is rare, usually resulting from an underlying condition. With treatment, some issues can be corrected but some cannot be resolved. The causes of a true low milk supply include Insufficient glandular tissue (hypoplastic breasts), Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Hypothyroidism, and Previous breast surgery, such as mastectomy or a breast reduction surgery, Prior radiation treatment for breast cancer. If you have a true low milk supply, you may not be able to breastfeed exclusively. However, supplementing with infant formula or donor milk is nothing to be ashamed of.
- Returning to work and accessing supportive childcare: Few workplaces have breast feeding policies or flexible working arrangements. More mothers are returning to the workforce while their infants are young, and too little assistance is available to help them to continue breastfeeding. This includes a lack of on-site childcare, no nursing breaks for mothers, or appropriate places to express and store breast milk while at work.
- Large Scale Promotion and marketing of infant formula: Promotion and marketing of infant formula as a suitable alternative undermines breast feeding. Large advertising budgets are allocated to the promotion of infant feeding products. These products are widely promoted.