by Anne Eglash MD, IBCLC, FABM
What are details of a global snapshot of breastfeeding on earth? The new Global Breastfeeding Collective is a partnership of 20 international agencies with the goal of increasing investment in breastfeeding worldwide. They advocate for all mothers to have the financial, emotional and public support needed to breastfeed.
A Global Breastfeeding Collective goal is to reach 50% exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months by 2025 through 7 calls to action for governments, philanthropies, civil society, and international organizations:
- 1. Increase funding for breastfeeding,
- 2. Fully implement The International Code of Marketing for Breastmilk Substitutes
- 3. Enact paid family leave and workplace breastfeeding policies based on International Labour Organization’s maternity protection guidelines
- 4. Implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, including providing breastmilk for sick and vulnerable newborns,
- 5. Improve access to skilled breastfeeding counselling,
- 6. Strengthen links between health facilities and communities, and encourage community networks that protect, promote and support breastfeeding,
- 7. Strengthen monitoring systems that track the progress of policies, programs and funding towards achieving both national and global breastfeeding targets.
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2017, The Global Breastfeeding Collective and UNICEF recently published a Global Breastfeeding Scorecard, that tracks progress for breastfeeding policies and programs internationally.
What do you think are true statements from the Global Scorecard? (choose 1 or more)
- Globally, 44% of newborns are put to the breast within 1 hour after birth.
- Globally, the overall rate of exclusive breastfeeding for infants under 6 months is 40%.
- African countries have much higher rates of breastfeeding at 1 and 2 years as compared to countries in the Americas, which have very low rates.
- Countries lose more than $300 billion annually because of low rates of breastfeeding.
- 39 out of 194 countries have enacted legislation that covers all of the provisions of The International Code of Marketing for Breastmilk Substitutes
- The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) has become dormant- While the vast majority of countries have implemented BFHI, 64 countries have not assessed or reassessed any facilities in the last 5 years.
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All are correct
Milk Mob Comment by Anne Eglash MD, IBCLC, FABM
The Milk Mob embraces the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s directive of strengthening links between health facilities and communities, and encouraging community networks that protect, promote and support breastfeeding. The entire community needs to create a safety net for breastfeeding families once they leave their birth nest, no matter if birthing happens at a hospital, birthing center, or home. I like to think of birth and breastfeeding as a marathon. Just as marathon runners train for the big race, a pregnant mother needs breastfeeding education, training, and support from her prenatal providers and birth nest. When the big race comes, marathon runners expect support, such as water, food, and the encouragement of people cheering with glee. Breastfeeding mothers often enter a world barren of the sustenance, resources and encouragement that they need to ultimately reach their breastfeeding goals.
The Milk Mob’s vision is to enable knowledgeable breastfeeding providers to teach others in their communities who work with breastfeeding dyads. Breastfeeding is public health 101- breastfeeding knowledge is not meant to be held by certain few individuals in a community. Since more than 80% of mothers in the USA initiate breastfeeding, every person who works professionally with breastfeeding dyads needs to have the means of providing support for the most common problems and questions. Of course we still need lactation specialists for more complicated problems and unusual circumstances. Everywhere a breastfeeding mother turns, and every pair of eyes she meets, ought to provide the advice and encouragement that she needs to be successful.
Evolving our culture to one that embraces breastfeeding as normative may take many more decades. It is a slow jog, but we can provide our own water, food, and cheering section, and hope that those on the sidelines will eventually join in.