Breastfeeding and Family Foods: Loving and Healthy World Breastfeeding Week 1-7 August 2005The theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week from the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is Breastfeeding and Family Foods: Loving and Healthy
Last year the emphasis was on exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months to reduce risks of illness, disease and allergies to babies. This year the focus is on continuing to breastfeed after solids have started. An informal survey by Women’s Health Action reveals that, like the rest of the world, the introduction of solids generally starts before six months of age in New Zealand.
WABA estimates that if babies world wide were
- exclusively breastfed for six months
- then breastfed up to two years while being introduced to appropriate solids then almost 2.5 million babies per year would be prevented from dying. This single health initiative would save more lives than anti-malarial measures, vaccination and vitamin A supplementation put together!
Breastmilk provides: * 100% of energy intake from 0 – 6 months * 70% of energy intake from 6 – 8 months * 55% of energy intake from 9 – 12 months * 40% of energy intake from 1 – 2 years The three key messages around the introduction of solids when breastfeeding are:
- TIMING: Wait until the baby is 6 months old before starting solids and continue to breastfeed frequently on-demand. Understand that from 6-8 months solids are very experimental for babies, so the majority of nutrients come from the breast milk.
- RESPONSIVE: Solids are best introduced with sensitivity; slowly and patiently. In the same way that baby regulates breastfeeds, so too will they regulate solids. They will stop eating a solid feed when they are ready and should never be forced.
- NUTRITIONAL: First foods should be small in quantity and high in nutrient value. The recommendation is to keep the cereal, carbohydrate and bread component low and the protein, fruits and vegetables high.
Women’s Health Action is launching a new poster which highlights the importance of continuing to breastfeed after the introduction of solids. The mother is in a public setting reflecting that breastfeeding is natural and that to realise the full benefits of breastfeeding it may naturally occur anytime and anywhere. The poster also celebrates the reality of breastfeeding toddlers which frequently takes place outside the traditional Madonna-like pose. Mothers feeding older babies and toddlers frequently report on the hazards of their curiosity while breastfeeding!
Women’s Health Action is also co-ordinating a Guinness World RecordTM attempt for ‘the most mothers breastfeeding simultaneously’ and setting a New Zealand record. This event will be broadcast live from LynnMall over THE EDGE radio station on Saturday August 6th. There are several venues throughout New Zealand adding their numbers to the total tally. Participation is open to anyone who has registered with Women’s Health Action and followed a few simple rules. Bringing together breastfeeding mothers in this way is a perfect way to celebrate WBW and to highlight the need for public acceptance of breastfeeding as a natural and health-giving practice.
For more information:
Breastfeeding Advocate, Louise James at (09) 5205295 or firstname.lastname@example.org