The following is a guest post on a topic that means a lot to me! Thanks for reading!
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year during the first week of August – a whole seven days devoted to the wonder and miracle that is breastfeeding. It’s a time that’s set aside to celebrate those mothers who have made the commitment to nursing, educate others on why breastfeeding is so critical to a baby’s health, and promote the multiple benefits of breastfeeding.
World Breastfeeding Week is far from an individual campaign; its goal is much broader than that. Organized by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, they not only promote breastfeeding through encouraging each woman’s individual choice, but also fight and campaign for government-level policies to support a woman’s right to do so. Because when women choose to breastfeed, it positively affects society as a whole in so many different ways. In fact, that’s even the World Breastfeeding Week theme for this year – “working together for the common good.”
What Makes Breastfeeding So Great?
The more you learn about breastfeeding, the more you realize how perfect this theme is. Most people understand that a mother’s milk is best, but they don’t understand how truly far-reaching the health and societal benefits are. This infographic from Mom Loves Best lays it out pretty clearly – the benefits and protections offered by breastfeeding are absolutely astounding!
You probably have a general idea that breastfeeding protects babies against illness – but you likely have no idea just how much. Sure, the antibodies in breast milk provide protection against cold and other respiratory illnesses, but they also fight more serious afflictions like pneumonia, salmonella infections, meningitis, and sepsis.
Learn more about the 111 Benefits of Breastfeeding
The Benefits Don’t Stop There
Beyond protecting your baby from illness, breastfeeding offers benefits that extend well into their childhood and result in reduced incidents of chronic illness and other medical afflictions. Breastfed babies experience fewer inguinal hernias, less blindness, reduced gastrointestinal distress, and suffer from fewer allergic reactions. Breastfeeding has also been credited to protect against some developmental issues including bedwetting, poor communication, and delayed motor skills.
And as amazing as that is, the benefits still don’t stop there. Breastfeeding benefits extend well into adulthood – including reducing one’s risk of Multiple Sclerosis, mental health issues, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Breastfeeding mothers also see benefits themselves in the form of a reduced risk for many cancers, lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, and protection against osteoporosis.
Breastfeeding Together For The Common Good
It’s clear that the benefits of breastfeeding can have a far-reaching effect not only on the individuals involved but on society as a whole. Healthier families mean healthier communities. Healthier communities mean fewer sick days at work, increased productivity, and reduced health care costs. And this doesn’t even take into account the ecological benefits of reduced pollution from eliminating the need to produce (and throw away) items related to formula feeding.
It’s no wonder that this year, World Breastfeeding Week is “working together for the common good.” It’s obvious that the decision to breastfeed is more than just personal. It benefits us all.
About the Author
Jenny Silverstone is the mother of two, a breastfeeding advocate and a writer. You can find her sharing guides related to overcoming common struggles associated with breastfeeding on her blog, Mom Loves Best.
Have a great weekend!