You might be reading this blog and wondering, “Why does my breastfeeding or chestfeeding journey make a difference to others”? The answer is that your story matters to all of us! EVERY single drop of human milk you feed to your baby is hard work and should be celebrated. World Breastfeeding Week is a chance to recognize your achievements and thank your breastfeeding and chestfeeding support team. It is also a chance to consider how far you have journeyed towards your feeding goals.
Maybe you did not reach your nursing goals because of lack of support and maybe you exclusively breastfed or chestfed for a few days. Maybe you are exclusively pumping because of a painful latch or maybe you directly nursed your baby for 2 years. WHATEVER your story is, it matters to all of us, and especially to the future mothers and families who will nurse their babies. Our collective experiences breastfeeding and chestfeeding can help future families succeed only if we share our stories. Together, we can form supportive communities and advocate for better breastfeeding and chestfeeding support.
Why do we need World Breastfeeding Week?
The yearly event began in 1991 by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) to promote breastfeeding and chestfeeding support, education, and advocacy around the world. The Alliance is a combination of several organizations, including La Leche League International (LLLI) and the International Lactation Consultants Association (ILCA). Every year there is a theme for World Breastfeeding Week and this year it is “Step Up for Breastfeeding”. What does the theme mean to you? How can we all “step up” prenatal, postpartum, and overall lactation care so that everyone succeeds with their nursing goals? The first possible “step” might be finding your breastfeeding and chestfeeding support team and raising awareness in your community.
Actions to promote breastfeeding and chestfeeding support
Support from family members, your partner, and your friends can help to shape your nursing journey and can impact your greater community. Letting others around you know what breastfeeding and chestfeeding support you need and how they can help you achieve your goals can be empowering and life changing. Through your successes and struggles, your community can help to understand the value of breastfeeding/chestfeeding, and the challenges you and other lactating people face. Together, we can all advocate for policy changes and increased lactation support.
What are 5 possible steps to help reach your lactation goals?
Breastfeeding and chestfeeding success can look very different for each of us. Often, surrounding yourself with like-minded, supportive people can help you reach your feeding goals. What are five things that can help contribute to your success?
- Seek out people who cheer you on when you need encouragement to continue.
- Attend a prenatal lactation class or consultation with your partner.
- Reach out to a peer breastfeeding and chestfeeding support group or a lactation specialist with any questions, concerns, or nursing difficulties.
- Take some time for yourself each day. Consider listening to your favorite music on a walk or reading a chapter from a new book. You are important too and need time to yourself.
- Never quit on a bad day! Tomorrow is a new, and hopefully, better day.
5 Steps you can do today to help normalize breastfeeding and chestfeeding support
Taking small steps each day to help other nursing families impacts the breastfeeding success of your neighbors, friends, and relatives. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”! Your daily actions can lead to gradual positive changes in how our communities view breastfeeding and chestfeeding support. What are some small actions you and your lactation supporters can take each day to help normalize breastfeeding and chestfeeding?
- Attend community gatherings and local conferences with your nursing baby.
- Call your local politicians and encourage them to support new lactation legislation.
- Normalize breastfeeding and chestfeeding in the community by nursing in public.
- Offer kind words of encouragement to a nursing mother or parent in the community.
- Join a peer support organization and help other new parents succeed with their nursing goals.
Remember, your lactation journey and achieving your feeding goals is important to all of us! It is important to take some time each year and celebrate your successes during World Breastfeeding Week. Taking care of yourself, forming a strong and supportive community, and advocating for other nursing families is achievable and within your reach. Milk Connections Lactation Consulting would be honored to help you on your journey. Contact us today to receive the support you deserve!