World Breastfeeding Week

Eileen BaganBy Eileen Bagan, RN, BSN, IBCLC

World Breastfeeding Week is August 1st - 7th. This annual event draws attention to the health impact of breastfeeding for both mother and baby. Worldwide, more than 170 countries celebrate this week.

The theme for this year’s celebration, “Talk to Me! Breastfeeding-a 3D Experience”, focuses on the importance of communication in supporting those families who have chosen human milk and breastfeeding for their infants. Communication is an essential part of protecting, promoting and supporting human milk feedings. In today’s world, we can connect with others anywhere in an instant, which is truly amazing!

Hilary Clinton stated it takes a village to raise children. Well, this same philosophy can also apply to the family that has chosen to breastfeed. We must embrace, empower and educate all those who are a part of the family unit.

Educating why human milk is like no other food: species specific even different from mother to mother; multiple immune properties to protect the infant; multiple disease protection properties for both mother and infant are just some of the amazing educational facts. Supporting the breastfeeding family in the hospital after delivery by assisting with feedings and continuing the educational process for them and their visitors throughout the hospital stay.

Informing the mother and families of community support groups available in our area: Mother’s Haven, WIC Peer Counselor Program, Outpatient Consults at Kootenai Medical Center with a Lactation Consultant or private sector Lactation Consultant. It is a continuum throughout the pregnancy, delivery and post delivery time period that women and their families need this support and constant communication avenue.

In January 2011, Surgeon General Dr. Regina M Benjamin called to action all sectors of society to help remove obstacles facing women who want to breastfeed. “They shouldn’t have to do it alone. Whether you’re a clinician, a family member, a friend, or an employer, you can play an important part in helping mothers who want to breastfeed.”

At Kootenai Medical Center, we are proud to hold Baby Friendly Designation. We strive to promote, protect and support mothers and their families. We know it takes time, patience and perseverance when learning to breastfeed your baby. We along with the other community agencies are here to assist you in your feeding needs before, during and after your hospital stay. Our Lactation Department is proud of our program and will continue to be here for you as needed. We thank Mother’s Haven for their incredible efforts to support, promote and protect breastfeeding for mothers in our community.