By Ivy Bagley
August is National Breastfeeding Month. August 1-7 is celebrated as “World Breastfeeding Week.” Today, August 3, 2019 throughout the world, women and families come together for the 10th Annual “Global Big Latch On” Over 21,000 women participating last year alone. This year, we expect this number to grow as a virtual latch option is available for those who cannot attend an event.
Why do we have these events? Some likely are reading this article and wondering “how much more can they cram breastfeeding down our throats?” Those are both comments I, personally, have heard. I have encountered moms who become offended when breastfeeding information is posted on social media.
Even the word “breastfeeding” can bring out many emotions for moms, family members, and in the community. Women often feel a negative association with the word if they had issues with nursing or opted to feed with formula. Community members also may have a negative view of nursing in public or providing their employees time to pump. Women who have breastfed multiple children may feel empowered when the words “breastfeeding” or “nursing” are mentioned.
Ultimately, we celebrate this month to provide families with support, encourage education, and offer resources to families. Our goal is to make breastfeeding a better experience for all families and to help meet their nursing goals. We need events that focus on breastfeeding; lawmakers who advocate for moms to have places to pump; and communities who unite to support breastfeeding families.
Lactation consults, La Leche Leaders, breastfeeding advocates, and families who are breastfeeding friendly simply have one goal in mind when they talk and educate on breastfeeding- Supporting Families. Perhaps sharing their experience or story will help another family overcome an obstacle with nursing. Lactation consultants know that during the first few weeks moms- especially new moms- need and deserve a lot of support. IBCLCs need to be recognized as a crucial part of the healthcare team. If nursing moms are having issues or even if they are not; providers need to offer their services as a resource. Providers should be more familiar with which medications are safe during lactation. Prior to telling a mom to “pump and dump,” they need to consult quality medical resources. Pediatric providers should discuss with parents all the options available and encourage them to utilize an IBCLC for assistance if the mom wishes if supplementation is warranted for the infant. Perhaps an infant that needs formula can, in fact, utilize a supplemental nursing system or syringe feed. If mom is having supply issues, it is important she be properly educated on ways to increase her supply. When a mom returns to work, she needs other mothers to support her as she makes this transition. These are just a few examples of why this month and these events are important
We aren’t trying to “cram breastfeeding down your throat” In fact, we are working to offer breastfeeding support to those who choose nursing or are not having an optimal experience. We wish to make breastfeeding an option for every family to choose.
Our goal is to offer empowerment and enable breastfeeding for families.
To find a local Big Latch event, visit, www.biglatchon.org
To sign up for the virtual latch (at 10:30am)- download the webex app, the meeting code is 737-842-852, the Host Key is 144754, and the meeting password is 1234