World Breastfeeding Week Post Round Up

I ended up writing a lot of breastfeeding posts during WBW this year and decided to gather them all together in one post, plus extras, so that no one manages to miss out!

Other favorite posts about breastfeeding:

  • Breastfeeding as a Spiritual Practice: Reflections on the intimate, spiritual connection and meditative quality of being a breastfeeding mother as well as thoughts about parenting as a (rigorous) spiritual practice of its own.
  • Breastfeeding as an Ecofeminist Issue: Why does breastfeeding threaten both feminists and the patriarchy? Why is breastfeeding a core women’s issue? And, why aren’t we more concerned about systemic barriers?
  • The Birth-Breastfeeding Continuum: From a biological perspective birth and breastfeeding are not discreet events, but are inextricably linked. Healthy breastfeeding begins with healthy birth!
  • Ode to my nursling: What it is like to nurse my baby.
  • Nursing Johnny Depp: My “classic” essay on what it is like to nurse things other than my baby…
  • Listening Well Enough: What I learned from a dream about listening to breastfeeding mothers.
  • Listening to my baby…even when we disagreed! Personal story about how I learned to listen to my baby about what he needed with regard to breastfeeding even when I didn’t like what he was telling me.
  • Inseparable: Personal thoughts about being “in dependence” with our babies.

Other great resources:

Infographic for parents (and heck, providers too!) about the first few days of breastfeeding–newborn stomach sizes, number of diapers, etc.

Ban the Bags toolkit: Great rebuttals to common arguments about the assumed neutrality of distributing formula marketing materials via medical care settings/providers as well as evidence about the link between “free” formula distribution and reduced rates of successful breastfeeding.

Resources from the Breastfeeding Taskforce of Greater Los Angeles including:

Also, you can check Baby Friendly USA to see if your birthing facility is Baby Friendly.

CIMS sent out some good WBW information about how Birth Practices Affect Breastfeeding:

CIMS is proud that the WHO/UNICEF included recommendations in the Ten Steps of the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative in the WHO/UNICEF’s Infant and young child feeding: A tool for assessing national practices, policies and programmes (2003).

The WHO and UNICEF recommend that to maximize the establishment of successful breastfeeding women in labor, regardless of birth setting, should have access to the following practices recommended in the MFCI:

  • Care that is sensitive and responsive to the specific beliefs, values, and customs of the mother’s culture, ethnicity and religion;
  • Birth companions of her choice who provide emotional and physical support throughout labor and delivery;
  • The freedom to walk, move about, and assume the positions of her choice during labor;
  • Care by staff trained in non-drug methods of pain relief and who do not promote the use of analgesic or anesthetic drugs unless required by a medical condition;
  • Care that minimizes routine practices and procedures that are not supported by scientific evidence including withholding nourishment, early rupture of  membranes, use of IVs,  routine electronic fetal monitoring, episiotomy and instrumental delivery;
  • Care that minimizes invasive procedures such as unnecessary acceleration or induction of labor and medically unnecessary cesarean sections.

And, so did Lamaze:

Valuable resources and information for expecting parents, like Lamaze’s Push for Your Baby, are aimed at giving expecting parents the tools to push for the best care practices for moms and babies, including those that support breastfeeding education and awareness.

Lamaze calls out the following top five breastfeeding barriers within the first 24 hours of birth to help expecting moms prepare for the best breastfeeding experience:

  1. Unnecessary birth interventions
  2. Separating mom and baby
  3. Use of pacifiers or other artificial nipples before breastfeeding is well established
  4. Supplementing breastmilk with formula
  5. Lack of postpartum breastfeeding support

Note: on August 15, Lamaze is hosting a free webinar called Moms, Babies, Milk and the Law: Legal and Ethical Issues When Teaching Breastfeeding

And, some other interesting posts not by me:

World Breastfeeding Week Sucks According to this Lactation Consultant

While I don’t really care for the title because I think it may cause people to not even read the article, I really appreciated this IBCLC’s thoughts about the correlation between the occurrence of WBW each year and the strategic release “breaking” news about some kind of breastfeeding related controversy. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but this does in fact happen every. single. year. During World Breastfeeding Week, something comes out that causes doubt about breastfeeding or breastfeeding advocates. Maybe it is about vitamin D and how “deficient” breastmilk is, or maybe it is a trumped up “mommy wars” tale or hyperbolic call to action about not letting those mean “breastfeeding Nazis” try to tell us how to raise our babies, or, like this year, a bizarre spin on the idea that formula should not be readily distributed in large “gift packs” via our medical care system, but should instead be reserved for cases in which it is actually needed (see above mentioned notion of those mythical, control-freak breastfeeding Nazis who are out to get us all). Anyway, the LC points out this:

I really hate World Breastfeeding Week because much of the media takes it as an opportunity to attack those who wish to support mothers who breastfeed rather than celebrate their efforts to improve infant feeding. Every year I hope I will not have to read more faux feminist manifestos that denigrate the value of women who enjoy their care-giving roles. I hope I won’t have to read more junk science fishing expeditions by journalists who deliberately exclude the wide body of solid research that does show that what infants are fed does matter. This year sets a new low with the addition of outrageously false claims that New York’s City’s Mayor has imposed a ban on formula that is going to deprive mothers of their rights. –Susan Burger

And, speaking of the bizarre spin of this year’s anti-WBW backlash conspiracy, Moxie wrote a great post exploring this issue: The illusion of choice, the free market, and your boobs

If you truly care about a woman’s right to choose what’s best for her and her baby, you will take the financial pressure out of the equation, and eliminate any actions that impede free choice. Putting formula samples right next to the baby’s head impedes free choice. Having to ask for formula (just like you have to ask for tylenol, or an extra chucks pad, or another container of orange juice) doesn’t impede free choice. It doesn’t change anything for women who cannot breastfeed–they can still get those formula samples easily by asking. It doesn’t change anything for women who don’t want to breastfeed–they can still get those formula samples easily by asking. It could change everything for women who want to breasfeed but don’t have correct information or are experiencing problems they can overcome if they’re given help, because they will be given EQUAL ACCESS to information that can help them breastfeed and formula samples. They ask for help or they ask for formula. Equal access. No privilege for formula.

I don’t want the decisions I make about how to parent my children made by the highest bidder. Especially since the highest bidder doesn’t care about me and only wants my money. (Let’s not forget that those formula samples are worth about $1.50. A woman who chooses to feed formula based on those samples has just been signed on to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on formula once she leaves the hospital. She is never informed of that. Is THAT free choice?)

I don’t care how you feed your baby. But I want you to make a decision about it with all the information, all the support, and all the help you can get. Free choice. I do not want your choices narrowed by the huge financial incentives formula manufacturers pour into hospitals. [emphasis mine]

And, as I’ve already referenced in some of the posts linked to above, Dr. Newman has a helpful article about How to Know a Health Professional is not Supportive of Breastfeeding that directly connects to the issue of formula distribution by medical care professionals. One way to know right away is if the provider distributes material provided by a formula company—even if that material is labeled “breastfeeding information.”

3 thoughts on “World Breastfeeding Week Post Round Up

  1. Pingback: Wednesday Tidbits: World Breastfeeding Week! | Talk Birth

  2. Pingback: Tuesday Tidbits: Breastfeeding and Ecofeminism | Talk Birth

  3. Pingback: Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week! | Talk Birth

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