The 1st of August marked the start of World Breastfeeding week…Which would make today the end of this awareness campaign. However, August is often refered to as Breastfeeding month, so lets keep the awareness flowing, shall we? And with breastfeeding being one of my passionate interests- hence the blog, duh – I thought it only right that I too sound the proverbial trumpet a bit on this fantastic awareness campaign, which is currently in its 22nd year of running!
The theme for 2014 is BREASTFEEDING: A Winning Goal – for Life!. The theme asserts the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.This campaign has four main objectives, and are a part of the Global Breastfeeding Initiative for Child Survival.
The genesis of this campaign goes all the way back to 1990, when eight global goals (the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs), were set by governments and the United Nations, in order to fight poverty and promote healthy and sustainable development in a comprehensive way by 2015. Yes…thats NEXT YEAR, people! They are constantly measuring the progress of achieving their goals, and whilst there has definitely been an improvement,there is still so much to still do. For example:
Poverty has gone down, but 1 in 8 people still go to bed hungry. Undernutrition affects about a quarter of all children globally. Overweight, the other form of malnutrition is becoming more common too. In the last 2 decades, child mortality has decreased by about 40%, but still almost 7 million children under five die each year, mainly from preventable diseases. As the overall rate of under-five mortality has declined, the proportion of neonatal deaths (during the first month of life) comprises an increasing proportion of all child deaths. Globally, maternal mortality has declined from 400 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 210 in 2010, but fewer than half of women deliver in baby-friendly maternities. By protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding, YOU can contribute to each of the MDGs in a substantial way. Exclusive breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding are key interventions for improving child survival, potentially saving about 20% of children under five.
And in case the correlation between the MDG’s and breastmilk is still not clear, have a look at how the UN’s Scientific Committee on Nutrition has illustrated the link of breastfeeding to each of the Millennium Development Goals for your viewing pleasure:
With South Africa being one of the 120 countries involved in World Breastfeeding week, I was keen to see what we were up to here back on home soil. It seems that, using the theme as a guide, Western Cape Government Health’s focus is on Milk donation.
Now milk donation was something that I had become particularly interested in with my first baba…especially after observing how quickly I filled up our freezer every week, with extra milk that I had pumped after each feed – much to the irritation of my mom at the time(I mean, how much meat do we really need,Mom?);) . After chatting with the nurses at Panorama Breastfeeding Clinic, I had learnt that they “ran” a milk donation service, as such. So with that, I decided, I too shall donate milk….next time. Because at the time, I was still trying to get a hang of this whole new mother-thang, that was pretty much kicking my ass…So next baby! Then next baby came, but thanks to mastitus and a world of other stressful events, my milk supply wasnt up to its usual cup-overrunneth-over-self. But I vow, next baby (God-willingly), its so on…like donkey-kong!
Because, seriously for premature babies, the availability of breast milk truly makes the difference between life and death. Premature infants whose mothers, for whatever reason, are unable to provide them with breast milk, are at risk of developing life-threatening infections like Necrotising Enterocolitis (NEC). NEC is one of the most common gastrointestinal emergencies in the newborns, particulalrly common in premature babies. And even more so, in babies with low birth weight – below 1500 g. Breastmilk compared with formula is the most important strategy associated with a lower risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, and this preventable infection is the main reason for milk banks all over the world.
So in terms of milk donation, it truly does support this years theme thoroughly: Protect, Promote and Support breastfeeding: it is a vital, life-saving goal!. So if you can, why not donate? Especially all those mamas who “suffer” from oversupply – which by the way, is pretty common, apparently. Maybe theres a reason we have so much milk?
FoodMilk for thought…
If you’re interested in finding out more about milk donation in Cape Town, read more here about Milk Matters.
Have you ever donated milk before? Or what else have you been up to in honor of breastfeeding week?