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Why Is World Breastfeeding Week a Thing? | I'll Tell You

World breastfeeding week is a widespread campaign that advocates for the protection of the Mamababy dyad as nature intended it to exist. It’s kind of the same deal as Cesarean Awareness Month (aka VBAC awareness month on our page! #morevbacplease)


It brings awareness to the detriment caused by attempting to control or replace the wisdom of women’s body’s in the name of “convenience” or fattening the company wallet. It also celebrates the wisdom of women's bodies and revers the biologic blueprint of babies to receive and thrive on their mothers' milk, drop by drop, feed by feed, day by day.



a mother breastfeeding her baby

This is the way nature designed us. We know that birth & breastfeeding are intricately linked. That mothers & their babies are intricately linked. We know that when left undisturbed, that this biological blueprint is protective to mamababy, optimizing their health and chances for survival. We also know that there are corporate systems at work that profit off of the chronic self doubt, fear, & outsourcing of a mother's power (hello, birth trauma). In this case, it's convincing mothers that bottles, formula, and the countless other items produced as a replacement that separates mamababy are more desirable or beneficial than a mother's own physiologic abilities.


We at Healing Birth trust mothers, their bodies, and that women know what’s right for themselves. We understand that there are times in which a mother may wish to, or even need to, find safe, alternative food for her baby. We also understand that mothers thrive through the support of an integrated community, and that mothers who wish to breastfeed their babies are far more likely to feel successful in this endeavor when they feel held and supported throughout their journey, however that journey ultimately concludes. It’s our wish that all mothers feel loved and celebrated.


Ultimately, World Breastfeeding Week is a movement of reclamation.

The first baby formula was invented around 1865 by a german chemist named Liebig, with a base of cows milk & wheat. Before this, babies whos mothers were not able to breastfeed were either wet nursed by another woman, or fed milk from the goats or cows that the family kept as livestock.


The production of shelf-stable milk led to the rise of formula companies like similac and enfamil. These were were marketed as ideal food for babies. More companies erupted as bottles & nipples were invented and developed. aggressive, predatory formula marketing pursued, at the expense of mothers and babies.



In the 1960s only 23% of women breastfed. Keep in mind that Twilight sleep was used from ~1910 until the 70s and that birth impacts breastfeeding. The dropping breastfeeding rate prompted the “breast is best” campaign to promote breastfeeding & its benefits to mom & baby. This campaign was later rebranded in the 90s to "fed is best" to protect the feelings of parents who chose not to or were unable to breastfeed their babies, ensuing a long lasting debate.


World breastfeeding week was first celebrated in 1992, initiated by major global health organizations, as a way of promoting exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, and educating the public on the critical components of breastmilk that benefit babies in ways formula cannot replace.


World breastfeeding week is celebrated every august in over 100 countries to commemorate, preserve and promote the act of breastfeeding. It also aims to increase access to breastfeeding support for all mothers.


So maybe the real question is:

How have we gotten to where we’re needing to defend mamababy biology so fiercely in the first place?


Mother's need more than a week-long campaign. We need continuous conversation, unraveling, remembering & restoring authentic community connection.





 

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