I haven’t written a breastfeeding-related post in quite a while but that doesn’t mean I haven’t forgotten about all the “good stuff” that comes with nursing one’s kids with Mama’s precious milk. In fact, I am SO excited to breastfeed our third child when he/she comes out sometime in late April/early May! 🙂
Anyway, I was prompted to write this quick post when I saw fellow WAHMderful mom blogger Janice’s blog post about breastfeeding being promoted by Mom Bloggers for Social Good on Twitter (@socialgoodmoms). I think it’s so great that mom bloggers and other people are uniting for a cause I totally believe in — promoting breastfeeding as one of THE best ways to save children’s lives.
Janice, Mom Bloggers for Social Good and lots of other people are promoting Save the Children‘s campaign to fight for newborn nutrition, based on a recent report they published titled, “Superfood for Babies: Breastfeeding Report.”
According to Save the Children, an estimated 830,000 babies could be saved if all women breastfed in the first hour of life. Also, exclusive breastfeeding for six months could save even more lives.
However, it has been observed that most moms face four significant barriers to successful breastfeeding, namely: cultural and community pressures, the health worker shortage, lack of maternity legislation, and inappropriate marketing of breast-milk substitutes.
Here in the Philippines, we who are part of the “pro-breastfeeding” sector of society know all too well that the barriers stated above are very real in our country. If you just browse through Jenny of Chronicles of a Nursing Mom’s blog, especially her posts labeled “advocacy,” you’ll get what I mean.
The marketing of breast-milk substitutes here is becoming more and more aggressive, and when disasters like big typhoons strike, the call for formula milk donations — instead of breast milk donations — is usually sent out.
Of course, there is also the “status” that many people, especially here in the Philippines, that seem to associate with giving formula milk, instead of breastfeeding (“You only do it because you can’t afford to buy formula”).
Personally, I don’t have anything against moms who choose to use formula. I have no right nor am I in the position to judge anyone. I actually almost gave up on breastfeeding my second child, because she was having difficulty latching. Ironically, it was my mother who encouraged me to keep at it — she was “converted” to breastfeeding after I had my first child.
While nursing my eldest, and dealing with cracked, bleeding nipples and mastitis, my mom would tell me to just give him formula, so that I could get the rest I needed and recover from birth. (She had all the best intentions, I know!) However, I refused and persevered. 🙂
Which is why when it came to my second child, I surprised myself by wanting to “throw in the towel,” so they say. I was feeling very bad that she wasn’t able to nurse properly, and was worried sick she wasn’t getting the nutrition she needed. Thank God for my mom, the breastfeeding “convert,” and my husband, and the nurses around us who told me to keep trying (we were in Timor Leste when both kids were born).
Now that I’m pregnant with our third baby, I think back and recall all those early days of breastfeeding — the struggles, the doubts, the joys, the pains, the benefits to me and my babies — and I smile. I know that by choosing to breastfeed my children — both of them beyond two years, until I became pregnant — was one of the best decisions I ever made. 🙂
I only pray and hope that other moms worldwide could receive the same support, encouragement, and education I was blessed to have— factors that helped me sustain my breastfeeding journey.
Will you join me in helping spread the word about Save the Children’s campaign for breastfeeding? Here is what you can do (I “borrowed” this from Janice’s post):
- Sign this petition to tell US Secretary of State, John Kerry to fight for newborn nutrition and to demand renewal of the 1,000 days call to action. 1,000 days is the critical time from pregnancy and a child’s second birthday where there are the best chances to prevent malnutrition.
- Spread the word about this campaign to your friends and family through your blog or social media. You can tweet about it and use the hashtag, #Firsthour.