Story of self, story of us, story of now
Every year the first week of August is used to promote breastfeeding.
This year, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) are
asking us to look at the “Warm Chain” and ‘step up for Breastfeeding’.
The Warm Chain campaign considers all the various roles we play in supporting mums and babies to successfully breastfeed, helping to ensure that continuum of care throughout the first 1000 days.
Breastfeeding is recognised as the best way to feed babies under 6 months meeting all their nutritional requirements whilst providing numerous immunological and attachment benefits for baby AND health benefits for mum.
In Gibraltar breastfeeding rates are not as high as they could be. The Gibraltar Breastfeeding Association state around 70% of women wish to breastfeed but that this drops to around 40% after day 10; thus 30% of women who had hoped to continue have not been able to.
Is it really a big deal?
Numerous studies highlight the benefits of breastfeeding. By scaling up breastfeeding to a near universal level it is said that around 823 000 annual child deaths (below 5 years of age), and 20 000 annual deaths from breast cancer, could be prevented. Benefits also extend beyond health. Children that are breastfed are associated with higher levels of intelligence and the economic losses attributed to a lack of breastfeeding are said to be about £242 billion per year.
So why not breastfeed?
The choice of how to feed a baby is incredibly personal. There are a number of considerations that can act as either facilitators or barriers to breastfeeding, they include:
breast-related health (for example, women may have mastitis, breast engorgement, cracked nipples etc.)
• emotional wellbeing
• amount of sleep
• time available
• accuracy of information provided
• the amount of support available
With the right support it is proven that many more mothers would be able to breastfeed to 6 months and beyond.
HM Government of Gibraltar passed an amendment Bill in 2017 (reference the Equal Opportunities Act 2006) ensuring women have the right to breastfed in ‘any public space’ should they chose to; highlighting the importance of breastfeeding as a right.
How can you support this week?
Breastfeeding is a skill that can take time to get the hang of. You can support a family’s breastfeeding journey in various ways. Identify your role in the Warm Chain and use the tips provided on the WABA information cards for ideas. Examples include: empowering parents to combine breastfeeding and work, collaborating with others to ensure support in different environments and/or sharing evidence-based information on the importance of breastfeeding.
For more information see WABA.org.
If you have any breastfeeding worries or concerns, speak to your midwife or health visitor. You can also find support from other breastfeeding mothers (See: Gibraltar Breastfeeding Association)
#WABA #breastfeeding #WarmChain #StepUpForBreastfeeding