Monday, July 27, 2009

The first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week

By Michelle Schnaars
for the CAPPA Blog at

“The World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is the greatest outreach vehicle for the breastfeeding movement, being celebrated in over 120 countries. Officially it is celebrated from 1-7 August. However, groups may choose other dates to make it a more successful event in their countries.” -WABA

As professionals we have the opportunity to encourage our clients to breastfeed their newborns. Extended breastfeeding, up to toddler age and beyond, also has health benefits for mother and child. If we encourage breastfeeding mothers will be more likely and even prepared to breastfeed their children in the event of an emergency when clean water and formula may not be available. WABA (World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action) aims to educate both families and professionals on breastfeeding in normal situations and in the event of an emergency.

Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav taught us that breastfeeding is more than a life choice it is a matter of health. Babies and young children will die after a disaster for the simple fact that there might not be any available formula, or clean water to feed them. In the after-math of these hurricanes mothers who were breastfeeding their own children offered to breastfeed the babies and children of other mothers, so their children would have food, and live.

Breastfeeding offers many benefits including:Breastfeeding can save a family between $1,160 and $3,915 per year, depending on the brand of formula.
Breastmilk provides immune support which helps protect infants from germs and illness. Infant formula cannot match the exact chemical makeup of human milk, especially the cells, hormones, and antibodies that fight disease.
Exclusive breastfeeding through 6 months reduces the risk of SIDS by up to 50% (Venneman, 2009).
Colostrum, the thick yellow first breastmilk made during pregnancy and just after birth, will give the baby the best start at life. It is known as "liquid gold." It is very rich in nutrients and antibodies that protect the baby.
Breastmilk changes over time to meet the baby's needs: it contains the right amount of fat, carbohydrates, water, and protein that is needed for a baby's growth.
Breastmilk is easier to digest than formula.
Premature babies do better when breastfed compared to premature babies who are fed formula.
Unlike human milk straight from the breast, infant formula has a chance of being contaminated.
A mother can satisfy her baby's hunger right away with breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time for herself and her baby, helping them bond. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Breastfeeding mothers may have increased self-confidence and feelings of closeness and bonding with their infants.

The CAPPA CLE Program
The purpose of the CAPPA Lactation Educator Program is to provide childbirth professionals comprehensive training in breastfeeding education. Working in many fields, the CAPPA CLE’s provide support and advocacy for families across the United States and internationally. They can be found teaching breastfeeding classes in hospitals and private settings, as WIC peer counselors, as educators on hospital postpartum floors, working as breast pump rental technicians and in breastfeeding support stores, and facilitating breastfeeding and postpartum support groups - just to name a few. Many of our CAPPA CLE’s also use this certification to round out their labor and postpartum doula services and knowledge to ensure they are providing the highest quality services for breastfeeding support. For more information on the trademark of the CAPPA CLE and entering the program, please click here.

Breastfeeding information for both parents and professionals can be found at, and And CAPPA Lactation Education Training schedules can be found at

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