World Breastfeeding Week, 1st-7th August 2021
Held annually during the first 7 days of August, World Breastfeeding Week aims to highlight the huge benefits that breastfeeding can bring to both the health and welfare of babies. The event is organised by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), a global network that works alongside the World Health Organization and UNICEF to protect, promote and support breastfeeding around the world.
Whilst support at the individual level is crucial, breastfeeding must be considered a public health issue that requires investment at all levels. The opportunity to create a warm chain of support for breastfeeding that includes health systems, workplaces and communities at all levels of society is vital.
Breast milk is tailor-made for your baby, free, and always available. Whilst any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial, exclusively breastfeeding your baby for 6 months offers a lot more protection. Breast milk has many benefits for both baby and mum.
- provides protection from infection– breast milk provides natural antibodies that help your baby fight infections like tummy bugs, diarrhoea, colds; and chest and ear infections
- is rich in vitamins and nutrition– your breast milk provides the perfect combination of vitamins and nutrition, it is also much easier to digest than first infant formula
- protects long-term health– breastfed babies are less likely to develop diabetes, or become overweight when they are older
- reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and childhood leukaemia
- helps your uterus get back down to size
- promotes bonding with baby
- protects your health by lowering your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis (weak bones), diabetes and cardiovascular disease (conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels).
How long should I breastfeed?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that babies should have only breast milk for around the first 6 months of their lives and then continue to be breastfed for 2 years and beyond. It is particularly important to only give your baby breast milk in the early days as this can affect your milk production. If you find it difficult to only breastfeed or you do not want to, try to give as much expressed breast milk as you can; your partner can help with feeding too.
Gibraltar Breastfeeding Association supports those who wish to breastfeed and provides information leaflets for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, fathers and grandparents; there is also a support line on:54014517.
Public Health Gibraltar supported the association at the small get together for breastfeeding families in Commonwealth Park Bandstand on Friday 6th August to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. A number of breastfeeding families came along and discussions between members of the committee and trained midwife Fiona Hutchings on several issues (e.g. latching, feeding, weaning…) took place. For more information on healthy eating, breastfeeding and weaning, click here.