Did you know that in a third world country, breastfeeding can make the difference between life or death for an infant? Most third world countries lack clean drinking water and when companies like Nestle come in offering formula as a comparable alternative to breastmilk, and a desperate, malnourished mother decides to trust their claims, it is likely her infant will die. When you take a can of formula, dilute it to the max, and mix it with unclean water, you are essentially feeding your baby disease-riddled water.
Now, I know the Nestle debacle is a whole different issue, so I’m not going to go there today. I do, however, want to bring to light how incredibly fortunate most of us are to live in the developed world. We have access to a plethora of support and resources as well as clean water. You may have stopped breastfeeding because your nipples were too sore, you imagined you had supply issues (I don’t mean to offend with that statement, but the reality of actually having supply issues are rather rare. Most women are simply not educated enough to trust their body’s ability to feed their baby exactly what he/she needs), or because it was just plain exhausting. But what if you didn’t have the luxury of that decision? Or that decision ended in the death of your sweet baby?
So in light of World Breastfeeding Week (August 1 – August 7, 2012), we wanted to share a few statistics, a little bit of encouragement, some sweet photos, and a couple of resources.
*In most third world countries, exclusive breastfeeding through age six months is on the rise. This is such good news!
*Hungary has the highest rates in developed countires of exclusively breastfed infants at three, four, and six months of age.
*The UK has the lowest breastfeeding rates of any developed country, with exclusive breastfeeding at six months of age almost unheard of.
*Breastfeeding has the potential to prevent up to 1.4 million infant deaths in thirld world countries each year!
*Breastfeeding reduces risk for respiratory infections and diarrhea, two major causes of infant death.
So as you can see, breastfeeding really is life or death for some babies around the world. If that makes you feel like you should be thankful to breastfeed your baby, I’m glad. That’s how I feel when I read these kind of statistics. If your baby has a poor latch, pursue the help of an IBCLC, or your local LLLI group. If you don’t feel like you get the help you need, find a different IBCLC or LLLI group. Don’t give up! Breastfeeding is HARD WORK. Especially in the beginning. But for most, it will get easier, and it will pay off. I have never heard from a mom who regrets that she breastfed her baby too long, but there are plenty of us out there who wish we’d tried a little harder or worked on it a little longer.
If you are looking for support, email us! Leave a comment on this post, we would LOVE to assist you in any way possible. If you need a site full of information, check out:
And my very favorite resource is The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. If you don’t have a copy, don’t fret! We are going to give you a chance to win one of your own at the end of this post!
We have all had our struggles, ups and downs, and triumphs where breastfeeding is concerned. I have breastfed all four of my babies for a total of 42 months and counting, and I can say it is one of the most rewarding, enjoyable aspects of mothering. It is more than worth the early struggles.
Now for the giveaway!