National Breastfeeding Week sharing importance of breastfeeding
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
National Breastfeeding Week was celebrated between Oct. 1 and 7.
The event shares the aims of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), an annual event to promote, support and encourage breastfeeding throughout the world. Organized by The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), it's celebrated every year between August 1st and August 7th.
A Public Health Nurse for the Northwestern Health Unit, Miranda Sigurdson shared, “Unfortunately, this year due to COVID-19, there are no local, face-to-face events happening in communities. This year our campaign focused on promoting breastfeeding messages through social media. There was a free virtual event hosted by the Kenora Baby Friendly Coalition on October1st from 10:30 a.m. to 12p.m. Family health and public health nurses promoted virtual conferences for health professionals to learn more about supporting women and families to breastfeed this year. Normally we would organize community events such as an awareness walk, breakfast, contests, etc.”
According to The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund’s (UNICEF) website, the Innocenti Declaration, a formal statement about the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding, was created during a meeting held between The World Health Organization (WHO) and (UNICEF) in 1990. “In 2018, a World Health Assembly resolution endorsed the World Breast-feeding Week, as an important breastfeeding promotion strategy. Each year the Northwestern Health Unit runs a campaign and local events to promote breastfeeding messaging and local supports,” shared Sigurdson.
Sigurdson mentioned that protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding will save more lives of babies and children than any other single preventive intervention. “Globally, exclusive and continued breastfeeding could help prevent 13 per cent of deaths among children under five years old. Breastfed children have fewer childhood infections, fewer chronic diseases, 3–5 extra points of IQ, higher earning potential, more opportunities to prioritize education, and healthier mothers. Breastfeeding reduces burdens on society in terms of health spending, hospitalizations and absenteeism,” she explained.
The World Health Organization recommends that breastfeeding should be initiated within one hour of birth; with infants being fed nothing but breast milk for the first six months of life. Infants should be introduced to adequate, safe and complementary foods beginning at six months and continued to be breast-fed until at least the age of two. More information can be found on the NWHU’s website at https://bit.ly/33IoEND as well as the WHO’s website at https://bit.ly/3iGrQ0I.