All posts filed under: Breastfeeding

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UN Experts Call for Action on Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

Breastfeeding is recognized as a human rights issue for both mothers and babies, and those who wish to breastfeed their children have the right to unbiased and accurate information to be able to make informed choices. There are numerous barriers facing women worldwide in regards of optimal breastfeeding. Inappropriate and varying knowledge and skills among healthcare workers, non-existent maternity leave and non-supportive cultural practices are only a few that affect and hinder women who wish to breastfeed. On November 22nd, a joint statement by a group of UN experts was released to urge action on one major obstacle: the marketing of breastmilk substitutes, also known as formula. Together, they call upon Member States to implement legal measures to protect babies and mothers from misleading, and often aggressive marketing. Let’s have a look at some facts: Global sales of breast-milk substitutes total US$ 44.8 billion In 2019, the number is expected to rise to US$ 70.6 billion Of 194 countries analyzed, 135 have some form of legal measure in place related to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (also …

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World Prematurity Day 2016 – The Simplest of Interventions that Saves Lives

Each year more than 15 million babies are born prematurely, many of whom die within their first few days of life. Today, on World Prematurity Day 2016, we are shedding light on one of the most effective, yet basic interventions: Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC). With exclusive breastfeeding being one of its essential components, this method has the potential to save the lives of babies born prematurely. This week, in connection with World Prematurity Day, Save the Children announced that representatives of major international and U.S. associations for health professionals will come together and endorse a joint statement recommending the universal use of KMC for all preterm and low birth weight infants. So, what does Kangaroo Mother Care entail and why do we need it? KMC is a method of care practiced on newborn children – usually preterm (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy), low birthweight infants – where the mother, father or another carer functions as a natural incubator, providing heat, stimulation and feeding to the baby. The newborn, only wearing a nappy and a …

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Traveling to Malaysia & the Global Breastfeeding Partners Forum

I was invited to represent Girls’ Globe at World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action‘s (WABA)Global Breastfeeding Partners Forum (GBPF) in Penang, Malaysia, on quite short notice. To me, this meant that I didn’t have the time to get nervous, nor to actually realize that I was going to the other side of the world with my husband and 8-month-old daughter. When the airplane lifted towards the cloudy sky in Copenhagen it all suddenly hit me, and my heart skipped a beat. I was going to attend a breastfeeding conference with people from all over the world, many of whom have been in the game for longer than I have even existed. I was going to represent this fantastic organization that I had only even been aware of for no more than two months or so. I was going to take part in a plenary session in front of all of these knowledgeable people. What on earth was I getting myself into? What was I going to say? We arrived in Penang quite late in the evening, two …

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Breastfeeding and the Sustainable Development Goals

Breastfeeding is an essential part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and can be mirrored in not only the most obvious ones – like Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-being – but in many (if not all) of the other goals. Its impact and benefit for the baby, mother and thus society as a whole might not be the main target of the goal, but indirectly many linkages can be recognized. Breast milk is, and always has been free. The costs for formula on the other hand, can have huge impact on a household’s budget. Our babies don’t need anything else – not even water – for the first six months of their lives, if they are exclusively breastfed (of course, there are always exceptions to the rule). With adequate information and support, nearly all mothers can breastfeed their children, no matter their financial situation. What an amazing, effective and inexpensive intervention in the battle to end poverty! Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-Being are essential goals towards global sustainability and equality, and they …

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#9 – Maternal Health, Breastfeeding and Women’s Rights

In this episode of The Mom Pod, Julia has conversations about innovations and interventions that make a real difference for maternal and newborn health and the linkage to women’s rights with Jerker Liljestrand, Senior Program Officer for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Roger Mathisen, Program Director for Alive & Thrive in Southeast Asia. At the Women Deliver 2016 conference there was a lot of talk about new innovations that lead development forward to improve maternal, newborn and child health. When asked about what innovations can make a major difference and be brought to scale, Jerker Liljestrand spoke about women’s rights – their freedom, mobility, and having access to information and opportunities for dialogue. Further, Jerker spoke about the work that the Gates Foundation does to improve maternal, newborn and child health around the world, and what impact they have achieved. As an obstetrician and gynecologist with experience from many different parts of the world, he also provided some tips to mothers about how they can demand quality care. “It’s …

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I Breastfed my Baby in Public and Found an Unexpected Ally

A few days ago, my son and I had a rough moment. We were at a family fair in Dumbo, Brooklyn, and he was exhausted but just could not calm down and fall asleep. We’ve been traveling a lot over the pats few weeks, and he is such a great traveler that sometimes I forget that even though he doesn’t always show it, all this change and stimulation must be exhausting and overwhelming – and sometimes it just all becomes too much. I was desperately pushing him in his stroller around the bumpy streets of Dumbo, and he was screaming and crying uncontrollably. In between his screams I could hear a desperate “Mama, mama… Moooo! Moooo!” – “Mo” is what he calls breastmilk. I knew that if I could nurse him somewhere for a few minutes, he would not only calm down but probably fall right asleep – but I couldn’t find anywhere to sit down. Finally I found a ledge coming out of a wall that was just wide enough for me to prop myself …

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#6 – Breastfeeding Mothers Share Experiences

In this episode of The Mom Pod, we meet mothers Kristina and Maria from Sweden, Felogene from Kenya and Julie from the United States. All four of these mothers have chosen to breastfeed, and in different phases of their breastfeeding journey they share their experiences, and talk about the challenges they have faced and the support they have received. Although these mothers are from different corners of the world, there are several common denominators in the equation of making breastfeeding work for them and their babies. Support from family and health care professionals is essential to make breastfeeding work from the start and to make it possible for mothers to reach their breastfeeding goals. “At the end of the day, breastfeeding will take a lot of sacrifice and a lot of love. It is really worth it, but you have to be part of the process,” says Felogene. Maria shares her experience with 6-week old Ella who has colic – and although breastfeeding works well at this point, it is a constant struggle to find a …

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The Tricky Subject of Breastfeeding – Why We Do It and What We Need!

I am one in the 16% of mothers in Sweden who are still breastfeeding their baby at 12 months, compared to 34% in Norway and only 1% in the UK. The numbers are over 80% in low and lower-middle-income countries. Breastfeeding has a wide range of positive benefits for both mom and baby, regardless of whether you are rich or poor. So, what is it that determines a mother’s choice to breastfeed? A friend of mine who recently had her baby in Sweden, came back from the children’s clinic a bit confused after being told by a doctor (who didn’t ask about her breastfeeding intentions, practice or routine) that if her baby doesn’t gain more weight in the next few weeks she should start giving her breast-milk substitute (a.k.a formula). Despite the strong evidence of the benefits of breastfeeding (see below) and WHO’s recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months and continue for the first 2 years, women around the world do not have the support they need to breastfeed – and the Swedish doctor above is just one example of that. The …

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Enough with the Breastfeeding Hypocrisy

Featured image: Elina Tuomi  In early December, a Chinese mother made international headlines because she nursed her baby in the Beijing subway. A fellow passenger had taken a picture of the mother breastfeeding and shared it on social media with the caption “let me remind you that this is the Beijing subway, not a bus in your village”. Last week a Finnish celebrity stylist and a TV personality posted a picture to his Instagram and Facebook profiles of a mother nursing her baby on a Finnair flight from Helsinki to New York. His caption read “I know I am going to raise hell with this post but would it be too much to ask for mothers breastfeeding in public to cover the activity with a scarf?!” – his hashtags included #decency and #firstclass. A few days ago, a Republican State Representative Josh Moore from New Hampshire stated in his Facebook page that if a proposed bill banning women from exposing their nipples in public does not pass, if women choose to expose their nipples in public …

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6 Things I’ve Learned About Breastfeeding

I would still consider myself a breastfeeding novice. My daughter was born 8 months ago and we have been on an incredible journey as she has grown from a newborn into a little girl who is exploring the world on her hands and knees – largely thanks to breastmilk. When I was pregnant, breastfeeding felt incredibly far away, I had a hard time imagining that my body (and even moreso, my breasts) would be able to produce those incredibly important nutrients that would be so essential for my baby to grow. From the very first moment she was laid on my belly, she smacked her lips as she reached for my breast and latched on carefully. The first night she fed throughout the night and in the coming months I learned so many new lessons about this universal act of nursing a baby. 1. Baby knows best Nobody knows how my baby feels better than she does herself. At the hospital the midwives encouraged me to watch for my baby’s signs for wanting to feed. I …