Breastfeeding: A Vital Emergency Response
Are you ready?
OBJECTIVES OF WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK 2009
* To draw attention to the vital role that breastfeeding plays in emergencies worldwide.
* To stress the need for active protection and support of breastfeeding before and during emergencies.
* To inform mothers, breastfeeding advocates, communities, health professionals, governments, aid agencies, donors, and the media on how they can actively support breastfeeding before and during an emergency.
* To mobilise action and nurture networking and collaboration between those with breastfeeding skills and those involved in emergency response.
* Children are the most vulnerable in emergencies – child mortality can soar from 2 to 70 times higher than average due to diarrhoea, respiratory illness and malnutrition.
* Breastfeeding is a life saving intervention and protection is greatest for the youngest infants. Even in non-emergency settings, non-breastfed babies under 2 months of age are six times more likely to die.
* Emergencies can happen anywhere in the world. Emergencies destroy what is ‘normal,’ leaving caregivers struggling to cope and infants vulnerable to disease and death.
* During emergencies, mothers need active support to continue or re-establish breastfeeding.
* Emergency preparedness is vital. Supporting breastfeeding in non-emergency settings will strengthen mothers’ capacity to cope in an emergency.
Having a Twitter ribbon with the breastfeeding logo, or wearing buttons or advocacy t-shirts during WBW is not meant to give lactivists a carte blanche for tooting their "I breastfeed, every woman should breastfeed, and you are LESS THAN if you didn't/wouldn't/couldn't!" horn. I have certainly met those people. I was one of those people back when I had my first child, as a matter of fact. But WBW is in existence to raise awareness of the necessity for it in emergency. I think it also serves to raise awareness in general, which is a nice benefit. There are many myths about breastfeeding, especially why you CAN"T do it or won't be successful at it. With the awareness of facts being highlighted during WBW, I think more people learn the truth about why it is so important.
I want to link you to a post from Katie Allison Granju, an author I have been a fan of since I started having children nearly 10 years ago. She has some true words on breastfeeding these days, and a look back at our not so distant past.
I think she is right on. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject!