World Breastfeeding Week is a fantastic time for all of us women to come together and celebrate our breastfeeding journeys. The 25th annual event takes part during August 1-7 this year is all about working together for the common good.
Despite all of the numerous benefits you’ve probably heard about breast milk, the truth is, many mothers still choose to turn to formula when they are medically capable of breastfeeding. Why is this?
The truth is, it can be a very unsupportive world we live in, especially minorities and women of color. And when women don’t receive the support, help, and encouragement they need to help them breastfeed their babies successfully, they are far more likely to turn to inferior alternatives.
If you are one of the mothers who are on the fence about breastfeeding your baby, we’ve come up with three rock-solid reasons why we think you need to at least give breastfeeding your best shot.
1. It gives your child the best possible start
There’s little doubt about it. Breastfeeding provides the absolute best nutrition for your baby. It’s all natural and the composition changes to meet their needs as they grow and provides them with all the essential fats, vitamins and nutrients.
A recent survey of the medical literature by Mom Loves Best found over 75 different health benefits of breastfeeding for babies. Everything from helping their little bodies fight off infections and bacteria, to preventing the common cold and more severe diseases and health concerns such as cancer.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to give a growing baby the firm foundation for a healthy life, not just as children but also as adults later in life.
2. It has significant benefits for mothers
Babies are expensive, no doubt about that. But if money is tight, breastfeeding should be your first choice. In fact, breastfeeding can help you save money, between $800-$3000 within the first year alone. And that’s just when you take the cost of formula into consideration. Breastfed babies and their mothers tend to be sick less often, take less sick days and even have higher workplace productivity. Even if you need to hire a lactation specialist, it’ll still be much cheaper in the long run.
But saving money isn’t the only perk for mothers. They also enjoy lower risks of all cancers, including breast, uterine, endometrial, and ovarian cancer. It even protects mothers from urinary tract infections, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
3. It builds stronger communities
If the added benefits to you and your baby aren’t enough, there are numerous benefits for our communities. UNICEF estimates that an increase in breastfeeding worldwide could save up to 1.3 million lives a year.
Choosing to breastfeed also not only plays a role in reducing air pollution and landfill waste, but breastfed mothers and babies have been shown to be sick less often and have higher workplace productivity, which translates into lower medical costs all around.
These are some of the few reasons why breastfeeding the perfect example of working together for the common good.
The Bottom Line
While breastfeeding is clearly the best option, it’s not always going to be the easiest. The bottom line is that breastfeeding mothers need support. From their friends, family, government and trained professionals like doulas and lactation specialists.
And this is why I believe World Breastfeeding Week is so important in raising awareness. Because without the necessary support systems in place for us, we are doomed to fail. So I urge you, take the time to lend a helping hand to a breastfeeding mother, not only this week but whenever you can. Give them your support. Celebrate them. Let them know that they’re doing a great job. Because it truly does take a village to breastfeed.
About the Author
Jenny Silverstone is the mother of two, a writer and a breastfeeding advocate. You can find blogging at Mom Loves Best.com where she aims to help and educate new mothers about common breastfeeding struggles.