Now in its 23rd year, World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated annually in at least 120 countries across the globe between August 1 and 7. Each year the event has a different theme; this year’s is “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers,” highlighting the importance of peer-counselor support. Peer counselors are women with successful breastfeeding experience and training who support new mothers with breastfeeding.
Here are some of the World Breastfeeding Week events for northern New Mexico:
In Santa Fe, a family-friendly World Breastfeeding Week event will be held at the Children’s Museum from noon to 5 p.m. on August 2 with information booths, refreshments, games and prizes. For more information, contact Laura at 505-476-2649.
Espanola WIC will celebrate at Plaza de Espanola, August 2nd, 1-4 pm. Friday afternoon health fair and picnic for breastfeeding moms, their families, and anybody interested. Information-booths with health care professionals and services in the area; guest speakers, discussion groups about breast-feeding issues, film-viewing, music, raffle for great prizes, fun activities for the whole family.
Albuquerque has a breastfeeding related event happening nearly every day throughout the week and we'd welcome anyone to come by!
- UNM Hospital: Join the UNMH Lactation Department for cupcakes and breastfeeding information in the 2nd floor cafeteria area in the main hospital, August 7 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
- Inspired Birth and Families: On August 3, Inspired Birth and Families will be hosting the Big Latch from 10-11am at 3916B Carlisle NE, joining women across the world to break the world record for most women breastfeeding simultaneously.
- Dar a Luz Birth & Health Center: On August 2 at 6 p.m., we're shoging an advance screening of the documentary film BREASTMILK, promoted by the makers of The Business of Being Born. See a trailer for the film here: http://breastmilkthemovie.com/. Tickets are $10) and proceeds benefit the educational and breastfeeding programs in non-profit birth center. We'll show a matinee of the same film on August 4 at 2 p.m. There will be door prizes, a silent auction, movie concessions, etc.
World Breastfeeding Week was birthed back in 1992, through the efforts of World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) to generate public awareness and support for breastfeeding. WABA’s mission is based on the Innocenti Declaration, adopted at the WHO/UNICEF policy makers meeting on “Breastfeeding in the 90s: A Global Initiative” in Florence, Italy in the summer of 1990, to support efforts to increase women’s confidence in their ability to breastfeed and to identify and eliminate obstacles to breastfeeding within the health system, the workplace and the community.
Once a hospital adopts the 10 steps advocated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, it can be designated as “Baby Friendly.” More than 15,000 facilities in 134 countries have been awarded Baby-Friendly status. In areas where hospitals have earned this designation, more mothers are breastfeeding their infants, and child health has improved.
Currently, however, there are no Baby-Friendly hospitals in New Mexico. Through a grant received by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force is working to improve maternity care services across the state. At present, there are nine New Mexico hospitals on the path to Baby-Friendly status, and we hope there will be more in the future. This past year, Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe recently won the Task Force’s “Ban the Bag” award, meaning they no longer give out hospital discharge bags with formula to postpartum moms. Giving out free formula samples has been found not only to discourage a mother’s choice to begin breastfeeding but also to negatively affect breastfeeding duration and exclusivity.
For more details on global efforts to promote breastfeeding, visit The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action website www.waba.org.my/, and to learn more about what is happening locally, visit The New Mexico Breastfeeding Taskforce website at www.breastfeedingnewmexico.org.
Aimee Putnam is a mother of two children, co-chair of the Santa Fe Chapter of The New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force, and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant working through the Birthing Tree Cooperative’s Breastfeeding Support Program.