Category Archives for "Breastfeeding"

It’s World Breastfeeding Week – What’s The Emergency?


A mother breastfeeds in Ethiopia

This whole first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week. This year’s theme is “Breastfeeding – A Vital Emergency Response: Are You Ready?”

The theme reminds me of a family who was stranded in their car in the snow for over 9 days. They were a family of 3: Dad, Mom and an infant. I can’t remember exactly how old, but about 7-9 months old.

Anyway, that whole time, the Mom breastfed her baby and drank melted snow herself. As can be expected, the baby survived with nothing worse than a nappy rash (or maybe not even that, I’m not sure. Please post a comment and correct me if I’m wrong).

Had that baby been formula fed, she would have gotten terribly dehydrated. Her Mom would have had no choice but to give her plain water the whole time. Had that baby been formula-fed, this story would have had a more tragic ending (her Dad went on foot to try and find help but ended up lost and died).

This story is magnified in emergency situations of larger proportions: earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, famine….

As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. This is why the World Breastfeeding Week’s Theme includes the question, “Are you ready?” “You” refers not only to mothers and their families. It also refers to:

– communities, to give appropriate support to breastfeeding mothers so they can continue to breastfeed should an emergency strike

– rescue workers, so they can reunite babies with their mothers and the breastfeeding relationship can resume

– emergency response groups, so they can meet the needs of babies and young children without accepting donations of infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes

– counselors, so they can help traumatized mothers cope with the situation and not adversely affect their breastfeeding

– breastfeeding mothers, so they can help babies who have lost their mothers – whether temporarily or permanently – by sharing their breastmilk

But there’s another side to this story.

The absence of breastfeeding very often leads to an emergency. It may not be an emergency that affects the whole community, but it certainly affects the child who is being deprived of breastfeeding, and the child’s family – both of whom live with the consequences of not breastfeeding.

These consequences include:

– getting sick more often and to a worse degree, than their breastfed peers

– being more likely to develop allergies

– losing IQ points

– having an increased likelihood of developing diseases such as cancers, diabetes, etc., in their adult life

In these two ways, breastfeeding truly is an emergency response.

If you’d like to find out more about World Breastfeeding Week and how you can help, visit

What are you doing to support breastfeeding? Please share by posting a comment below.

PS: If you’re on Twitter and would like to help promote World Breastfeeding Week, you can do so by adding a Twibbon on your avatar. It’s super easy. Just go to for the step-by-step instructions.

Creative Commons License photo credit: babasteve

March 7, 2009

Breastfeeding Benefits to Mother and Child

Unsung Benefits of Breastfeeding

by: Philip J. Goscienski, M.D.

From the Stone Age until just a few generations ago, human infants’ only sustenance was mother’s milk, but modern infant formula seems to be an adequate substitute. After all, infant mortality in Western societies is at historic lows and growth patterns are normal. But is that all there is to it? Could there be other advantages to breastfeeding, both to the mother and to the infant?

Post-delivery stress discomfort.

All those hours of labor may be natural, but they are exhausting and stressful for mom. It’s not so easy on baby, either! First, that cushion of fluid suddenly vanishes in a big gush as labor begins. Then comes the big squeeze as the infant is mashed against the opening of the uterus, and through a birth canal that is so narrow that the baby’s skull elongates just to fit through. It takes a day or so before a newborn’s head gets its normal rounded shape back.

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March 6, 2009

Secrets to Working and Pumping

Mom with breast pump

by Patty Hone

When I had my first son I hadn’t planned to go back to work. I suddenly had to return to the workforce when he was three months old. I was completely unprepared and my son went from an exclusively breastfeeding baby to a mostly formula baby within a short period of time. I learned a lot from my experience with him and was much more prepared when I had my daughter. I was able to exclusively breastfeed her and work full time. Because of what I went through, the emotions of trying to pump enough milk for the next day, I wanted to gather up all my tips and write them down for others to use.

I hope that you find these tips helpful.

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March 5, 2009

Breastfeeding 101: Nursing Basics for New Moms

the breastfeeding Lady 2

by: Barbara A. Eastom Bates

Making the choice to breastfeed your new baby is one of the most important and far-reaching decisions you will make as a new mother. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend breastfeeding as the preferred method of infant nutrition for the first year of life.

The current AAP breastfeeding policy states,”Human milk is uniquely superior for infant feeding and is species-specific; all substitute feeding options differ markedly from it.” Why?

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March 4, 2009

Breastfeeding – Handling Criticism

Gift of life

by: Patty Hone

Feelings about how to parent seem to shift with every generation. A new way of parenting, sometimes called attachment parenting, has emerged and it challenges many of the rigid teachings of our mother’s generation.

Although breastfeeding is on the rise now, women are still dealing with the repercussions of previous generations. Not too long ago mainstream women did not breastfeed at all and the ones that did were taught to follow strict schedules. Some thought of breastfeeding as primitive. Formula was touted as being equal to or superior to breast milk.

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