Breastfeeding Support is More Important than Ever
The health benefits of breastfeeding cannot be overstated. Despite the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recommendation to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of life, almost two out of three infants are not; and this rate hasn’t improved in almost two decades! What's more, less than half of newborns are breastfed within that critical first hour after birth increasing the risk of disease. But breastfeeding is as important as ever and so is the need for support.
For vulnerable families living through crises and emergencies, it’s extra important that newborns have access to breast milk because of higher rates of malnutrition and poor sanitation. Sadly, it is these situations which also make breastfeeding harder due to emotional distress, lack of privacy/space, and exhaustion.
In July, WHO and UNICEF issued a joint statement (under the name, Step up for breastfeeding: Educate and Support) urging governments to increase resources spent on policies and programs that support and encourage breastfeeding. Part of the statement read,
“During emergencies, including those in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and the Sahel breastfeeding guarantees a safe, nutritious and accessible food source for babies and young children. It offers a powerful line of defense against disease and all forms of child malnutrition, including wasting.”
Supply chains are also messed up on a global scale, including in the United States which recently went through a formula shortage.
Another big issue is false or misleading advertising from formula companies. The formula milk industry (estimated at $55 billion annually!) targets pregnant women and mothers through social media—but the ads often don’t seem like ads. They show up in paid influencer content, virtual support groups and forums, apps, and more. This type of aggressive advertising is leading more parents to turn to formula. By reinforcing myths and posting misleading content, companies are making moms less confident and more anxious about the quality of their milk and ability to breastfeed.
Moms everywhere need support in providing the best care for their little ones more than ever. At Lactation Lab, we want moms to feel empowered by helping them find out exactly what’s in their milk so they can breastfeed with confidence. You can have your milk tested here.
Related reading: A Powerful Tool in the Campaign for Breastfeeding