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Do you think breastfeeding in public is intimidating? World breastfeeding week

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.

It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

Anytime, anywhere

This year, WHO is encouraging people to “Support mums to breastfeed anytime, anywhere,” as all of society has a role to play in making our communities more breastfeeding-friendly.

We still seem surprised when we see a mum feeding her child in the public places without thinking that this is the most natural act of love we can grow with. Breastfeeding is the most important way in the development of a child. It provides infant with needed nutrients and should be started within an hour after birth until a baby is 6 months old (World Health Organisation). It is the fundamental on which a person grows and develops. Nutritious complementary foods should then be added while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years or beyond.

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Decisions about when and for how long to breastfeed are intensely personal choices for every mother. However, we, as societies, need to become more aware of the benefits of breastfeeding – and do everything in our power to support women who want to breastfeed, whenever they need to, wherever they are.

It is essential to accept that the world is not extremely supportive in this sense and we do have some issues in accepting the simple act of breastfeeding in the public places. This young man’s reaction in the underground is impressive, but we should say that is not the only one.

In this video, a man says he is scandalised by the woman breastfeeding her child. “You are half-naked.” “Go somewhere else to feed your child”. “Do it in your house”.

Surfing the web we can find many of similar social experiments know the world is not as supportive as it could be for women who want to breastfeed, but we can change this. Supporting mothers to breastfeed any time and in any place is the first step to helping all children reach their full potential.

People talking about principles and morals when coming to exposing to breastfeeding. And we can see how people get scandalised about seeing a mum feeding her child. This is the most beautiful action to demonstrate love towards the newly born.

Being a mum should not be a punishment. On the contrary, is the most beautiful gift the mother nature gave to us. It is the way we develop as human beings and we are so limited in seeing this as a horrible fact. There are so many prejudices when coming to this and most of the people associate it with the sexual act which has nothing to do with the purpose for which it is designed by our natural development.

Another news which went around the web world is the one of a woman who was forced by the waiter to cover her breast with a napkin while she was breastfeeding her little baby. In this post published in 2014, the Guardian says that Louise Burns had to cover her chest (and therefore her baby) as the bartender at the Hotel Claridge of London thought the scene was too lewd.

Breastfeeding in the first month especially is needed on demand, as this article says , and you cannot choose the timing of your baby. The mother can decide on the hours to feed your baby, this cannot be done in the first months of life.

Facts about breastfeeding

  1. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.
  1. Exclusive breastfeeding is the best way to give your child a great start in life. We all need to do everything in our power to support women who want to breastfeed at any time and in any place.

It gives infants all the nutrients they need for healthy development. It is safe and contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, the two primary causes of child mortality worldwide. Breast milk is readily available and affordable, which helps to ensure that infants get adequate nutrition.

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  1. Breastfeeding also benefits mothers. Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with a natural (though not fail-safe) method of birth control (98% protection in the first six months after birth). It reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer, type II diabetes, and postpartum depression.
  1. Beyond the immediate benefits for children, breastfeeding contributes to a lifetime of good health. Adolescents and adults who were breastfed as babies are less likely to be overweight or obese. They are less likely to have type-II diabetes and perform better in intelligence tests.
  1. Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large.

“A child’s brain undergoes some remarkable changes in the first 3 years of life. Neural connections form more quickly than at any other stage as speech and language develops and the architecture and functionality of the brain are established.”

 “That’s why the sight of a mother breastfeeding her child always warms my heart. In addition to providing the perfect source of early nutrition, by breastfeeding she is also providing love and security. I know she’s giving her child the best start at life.” says Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General, Family, Women’s and Children’s Health, source WHO

And you? What do you think about breastfeeding in public?

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