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  • Angelique Smith

World Breastfeeding Week 2020

This is an extremely exciting week because from 1 to 7 August 2020 we are celebrating World Breastfeeding Week. There is so much to talk about when it comes to breastfeeding, but in this blog I will start off by discussing World Breastfeeding Week and why dietitians are so important when it comes to promoting and supporting breastfeeding.

World Breastfeeding Week is a global campaign to raise breastfeeding awareness and promote, protect and support breastfeeding globally. The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2020 is “support breastfeeding for a healthier planet.” Unfortunately, many people around the world do not know the true benefits of breastfeeding and why it is so beneficial for not only the mother and baby, but also for society and the whole world. Breastfeeding can provide every child with the best start to life and it can also form part of a sustainable food system.

Breastfeeding rates are quite low around the world and that is why the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding is so important globally, especially because most mothers are able to successfully breastfeed. As we know, breastfeeding is not always easy which is why we all need to support mothers when starting to breastfeed and support mothers to continue breastfeeding for as long as possible.

Breastfeeding has shown that it can contribute to improved child survival, so now why would we not support something as significant as this?

As a dietitian, it is vital for me to encourage and support mothers to breastfeed as this can promote the health and wealth of future generations. Dietitians play an integral role in supporting breastfeeding and are trained to provide mothers with the information needed for successful breastfeeding. Dietitians are essential when counselling mothers on breastfeeding because through counselling, we can increase the mothers confidence, but at the same time also respect their choices and circumstances and empower them to make their own informed decisions.

As a dietitian, I am able counsel mothers on:

· When the mother should start breastfeeding and why it is important to breastfeed immediately after birth

· What practices should be avoided when a mother is breastfeeding

· What medications should not be taken during breastfeeding

· Foods and fluids the mother should consume when breastfeeding

· The benefits of breastfeeding

· How long to breastfeed for?

· How to express their breast milk correctly

· Correct Storage of breast milk

· How to ensure the baby is latching onto the breast correctly

· How to ensure the mother can produce enough milk

· What to do when the mother must return to work

I'm sure a lot of people may think that breastfeeding is easy, but there are many women out there who struggle with breastfeeding and it can become a very stressful time for them. Some mothers may struggle at first to initiate breastfeeding, struggle with producing enough milk or have a difficult time getting their baby to latch onto the breast correctly. The mother may suffer from sore nipples or swollen breasts which can make it extremely uncomfortable for them. This is why many mothers will switch to infant formula milk, when actually all these mothers need is some support, guidance and a confidence boost. This forms part of my job because as a dietitian I am able to provide mothers with the correct information, guidance and support to help them breastfeed successfully.

If you are struggling with breastfeeding or know someone who needs some guidance, I would definitely recommend chatting to a dietitian.

Look out for my next blog where I will be discussing the benefits of breastfeeding and why it is extremely advantageous for the baby, mother, family, community and the world.

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