Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7
Posted on 08/05/2022

Step up for Breastfeeding – Educate & Support

It takes a village to raise a child. Parents face a multitude of challenges in providing the best care for their child during the prenatal, labor, and delivery, as well as postnatal periods. Ongoing care for the child is also vital in ensuring both mothers and babies are properly supported. Nationwide around 80% of mothers initiate breastfeeding, with about 60% of mothers stopping breastfeeding sooner than they planned.  It is known that breastfeeding education and support has a large impact on breastfeeding initiation and duration.  Supporting breastfeeding involves many people at different levels. Parents need support from the health care system, workplace, and community to optimally breastfeed, progressing from one level to the other. This is called the Warm Chain of Support for Breastfeeding.

To PREPARE for breastfeeding, parents need education & anticipatory breastfeeding counseling starting during the first trimester as part of routine prenatal care. 

To INITIATE breastfeeding, pregnant people need mother-friendly care during labor/delivery. Maternity units need evidence-based information covering appropriate management of labor/delivery care. 

To ESTABLISH breastfeeding in the early days, counseling and practical help with breastfeeding are needed in the maternity facility and when the mother is at home. 

To MAINTAIN breastfeeding, families can be referred to health clinics and to breastfeeding counselors and peer support groups. 

Although progress has been achieved, the work to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding became more of a challenge in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which widened and deepened inequalities, tipping more people into food insecurity. The infant formula shortage is an ongoing nightmare for American families with young babies. Breastfeeding can save lives during this emergency and other special circumstances. In emergencies, the nutritional needs and care of both breastfed and non-breastfed infants and young children needs attention. 

Limitations to the health system’s capacity led to the deterioration of breastfeeding support, and targeted outreach by the breastmilk substitutes industry continues to negatively influence parents’ infant feeding decisions. Against this background, the focus of World Breastfeeding Week this year (#WBW2022) is on education and support, so that we can all step up for breastfeeding!

Governments, healthcare staff, and the community must advocate to normalize breastfeeding and create breastfeeding-friendly environments. The #WBW2022 campaign reminds us that we all have a role to play in the education and transformation of existing systems, underpinned by evidence-based national policies to create breastfeeding-friendly health facilities, supportive communities, and workplaces. Let’s step up for breastfeeding!

But where can a pregnant person who plans to breastfeed or a breastfeeding mother who needs help with breastfeeding find the help and resources they may need?

Prenatal Breastfeeding Classes:

Lactation Support:

Additional Websites: