Are you a breastfeeding mother? Were you breastfed as a baby? Are you a member of society? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have a reason to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week this year from August 1-7. The goal of World Breastfeeding Week is to promote breastfeeding globally as well as educate mothers about the importance and benefits associated with nursing. 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the WBW, and this year the goal is all about “working together for the common good.”
Before the birth of my first child, I used to think that breastfeeding was an entirely personal choice, that only affected the mother and her baby. But I was missing the larger picture. Sure breastfeeding is great for babies, but it has long lasting benefits that ripple down into all facets of our society. I set out on a mission to discover just how deep these consequences really went, and through my research, I uncovered over 110 different benefits that the breast has to offer – not just for babies, but for moms and the rest of society too.
Fed is best, but breast is next
While a fed baby is always the best case scenario, almost all experts agree that the breast is the next best thing. Besides providing babies with all the nutrition they need, breastfeeding has an abundance of health benefits for babies.
A mother’s breast milk contains the antibodies needed to fight off major infections, serious illnesses, and germs. For instance, breastfed babies have far fewer ear infections than their formula-fed peers. Additionally, breastfed babies have fewer issues with constipation. If that is not enough, breastfed babies are also at lower risk for sudden infant death syndrome.
You benefit too
Breastfeeding does amazing things for a mother as well. Most importantly, it offers several health benefits for women including protection against a variety of illnesses as well as lowering the risk of cancer. Breastfeeding also provides benefits such as losing weight after pregnancy quicker than their peers. Plus, moms who breastfeed save money since they are not buying formula.
Working together for the common good
While breastfeeding is typically seen as something between a mother and her baby, it has the power to impact all of our society. For starters, more breastfeeding means less harm to our environment as a result of less landfill and air pollution from manufacturing formula and discarding the containers.
Additionally, as we have already seen, breastfeeding leads to improved health for moms and babies. When more women and children are healthy, our medical bills are lowered and fewer sick days in the workplace. Since breastfeeding also acts as a natural contraceptive, it also helps prevent unwanted and costly pregnancies.
World Breastfeeding Week is not merely a week to celebrate the benefits of breastfeeding; it is also a time for working together for the common good. When we help and support women to embrace breastfeeding, we help babies, mothers, and society achieve the very best.
About the Author
Jenny Silverstone is the mother of two, a writer and a breastfeeding advocate. You can find her at Mom Loves Best where she helps new parents deal with and overcome common breastfeeding and pumping struggles.