As a lactation professional, you know that successful breastfeeding or chestfeeding rarely happens in isolation.
Parents providing human milk to their babies need the support of healthcare providers, partners and extended families, employers, and wider communities to thrive.
Every person a parent contacts forms a link in the chain. The more solid the links, the greater the likelihood they will meet their goals.
This year, World Breastfeeding Week will focus on how to create stronger links for a better chain.
Where do you fit into the chain that protects and promotes breastfeeding worldwide?
As the globe is preparing to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week 2021, 1 August through 7 August, lactation support professionals are being invited to think about that question.
The theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility.
The celebration’s organizers, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), chose this theme to emphasize that efforts and collaboration across all levels are needed to support and protect human milk feeding, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As WABA shares, “Although support at the individual level is very important, breastfeeding must be considered a public health issue that requires investment at all levels.”
WABA stresses that efforts are needed at the national, health systems, workplace, and community levels.
WABA has outlined goals at each level, from strengthening enforcement of the WHO Code to improving parental leave and workplace lactation support to scaling up implementation of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative to implementing a continuing education curriculum for healthcare workers and building the capacity of community-based breastfeeding support programs and much, much more.
(To read a detailed discussion of the challenges and action steps WABA is calling for at each level, and learn more about WBW, head here.)
The Warm Chain
By focusing on shared responsibility, WBW aims to inspire each person to find their spot in the warm chain.
The warm chain WABA envisions includes people across levels and settings—those working in health systems, workplaces, and in the community.
“A warm chain of support will help build an enabling environment for breastfeeding and protect against industry influence,” WABA writes. “It is time to inform, anchor, engage and galvanise action to protect breastfeeding at all levels.”
Put Yourself on the Map
IBCLCs connect with parents and influence policy across all settings around the globe—hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, in private practice, as policy makers and as advocates and educators.
IBCLCs are a critical link in the chain with a unique ability to move the goal of protecting human milk feeding forward.
How can you get involved with World Breastfeeding Week 2021?
For one thing, you can put yourself on the map.
Use the map and form to add your community or workplace’s plans and to find events near you.
Watch the ILCA blog for more details on how you can take action for World Breastfeeding Week.