August 1st marks the start of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) and 21 years of raising support for breastfeeding parents everywhere.
Yes, we see you, mama and we’re here for global conversations that amplify and empower you. 💪
And so is the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA).
Since 1992, their annual campaigns work to raise awareness of breastfeeding and support and encourage parents during their journeys.
And this year’s theme is all about enabling breastfeeding and making a difference for working parents.
Curious to know more?
Here’s the lowdown of what World Breastfeeding Week means and how you can celebrate it.
In this article 📝
- Why do we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week?
- When is World Breastfeeding Week?
- What is the theme for 2023 World Breastfeeding Week?
- What to do for World Breastfeeding Week?
- How do you celebrate World Breastfeeding Week?
Why do we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week?
This was basically a joint declaration signed by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, government policymakers, and other organizations to protect, support, and promote breastfeeding.
And over the years, it has transformed into a worldwide celebration generating public awareness and support for breastfeeding in nearly 120 countries. 🌍
But World Breastfeeding Week is not just for educating the public about the benefits of breastfeeding; it also advocates for change.
Whether that’s more support for working mothers, baby-friendly hospitals, or increasing the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months to at least 50%.
When is World Breastfeeding Week?
World Breastfeeding Week is officially celebrated every August, from the 1st to the 7th of the month.
And its goals are always the same:
- Inform about the selected theme of the year
- Anchor the theme within the campaign’s global breastfeeding mission
- Engage with organizations and individuals for a greater impact
- Galvanise action on the year’s theme and any related issues
And speaking of themes…
What is the theme for 2023 World Breastfeeding Week?
Each year, WABA chooses a new theme for World Breastfeeding Week.
Past themes have included ‘Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet’ and ‘Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding’.
In 2021, the theme ‘Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility’ aimed to highlight “the links between breastfeeding and survival, health and wellbeing of women, children, and nations.”
It also shined a light on how essential support is for those who choose to breastfeed—something that resonates with us deeply here at Peanut.
In 2022, the theme was ‘Step up for Breastfeeding” in a bid to strengthen the capacity of key actors in society to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding.
We’re talking everyone from healthy systems and governments to workplaces and communities.
All in a week’s work!
This year, #WBW2023 is focusing on ‘Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a Difference for Working Parents’.
Yes, 2023 is all about highlighting the impact of paid leave, parenting norms, and workplace support through the lens of breastfeeding, working parents.
In other words, how can we empower parents and build breastfeeding-friendly environments in working life?
Should breastfeeding be supported in the workplace?
Well, according to the World Breastfeeding Week website, challenges in the workplace are the most common reason for moms to stop breastfeeding earlier than recommended or never start at all.
And women with less than 3 months of maternity leave report shorter breastfeeding duration.
But studies show, women are more likely to continue breastfeeding with an appointed lactation room and breast-pumping breaks.
There’s no other way to put it: women need better time, support, and breastfeeding resources to breastfeed for the recommended 6 months.
But according to one study, only 8% of worksites offer lactation support.
And worldwide, only 40% of women with newborns have the most basic maternity benefits at their workplace.
But the wildest statistic from Unicef estimates that optimal breastfeeding could lead to a global healthcare reduction of 300 billion USD. 🤯
Across the board, breastfeeding comes out on top as a smart, cost-effective, and simple way of ensuring infants thrive (and mamas too).
Without a doubt, breastfeeding needs to be supported in the workplace for mothers who are able and opting to do it.
What to do for World Breastfeeding Week?
Fired up to get advocating? We’ve got you. 📣
WABA has a whole list of ways you can get involved, whether you’re an employer, an advocate, an academic, a parent, or even a young person.
And each one plays on specific strengths and capacities.
So, for employers, developing parent-friendly workplace policies that support breastfeeding is obviously number one.
But so is promoting positive, more supportive attitudes in the workplace.
If you’re a mom involved in a breastfeeding support group, you could reach out to other women before, during, or after childbirth.
You can even share your positive breastfeeding experiences and teach other moms practical tips for breastfeeding.
Even men can play a proactive role in their partner’s breastfeeding journey by attending postnatal classes and learning more about what’s involved.
Better yet, they can take it a step further and encourage other fathers to support breastfeeding, be aware of negative attitudes in the workplace, and promote encouragement.
How do you celebrate World Breastfeeding Week?
Celebration is a powerful form of advocacy—one that lets you highlight the beauty of what you’re fighting for.
Here are five ways you can show support for breastfeeding for World Breastfeeding Week and beyond:
1. Get hashtag happy
Use the official WABA and WBW hashtags to join the conversation on social. 📱
We’ve got the list here:
2. Take a brelfie
A brelfie (aka breastfeeding selfi) has actually been endorsed by the World Health Organisation as a fantastic way to break down the stigma of breastfeeding in public. 🤳
No matter your feeding journey, why not snap a picture of you pumping, breastfeeding, or using a supplemental nursing system and post it on Peanut to show support?
3. Feed your baby
Not one for a brelfie? No problem!
Take this week to reflect inwards on your feeding experience and remind yourself that you’re doing an amazing job.
We’re proud of you.
4. Find the perfect bra
According to Boux Avenue, only 19% of women are wearing the right bra size. 👙
And when you consider how your breasts change during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it may be time to extend support to the right cup size.
5. Share your experiences
Sharing your experiences with other women not only makes you feel less alone but can help others struggling in their journey. 🎙
Help normalize breastfeeding or the challenges you’ve faced by joining and posting in support groups on Peanut.
And if you feel confident sharing it wider, spread the word on your social media.
Women don’t always have access to the same support systems, but your journey could be the very thing that lets them see the options available to them.
Now, that’s empowering.
In the spirit of World Breastfeeding Week, check out our top breastfeeding tips from the Peanut community: