From 1 to 7 August each year 120 countries celebrate World Breastfeeding Week.
World Breastfeeding Week 2022 theme
This year’s theme, ‘Step up for Breastfeeding’, seeks to involve governments, communities and individuals. The theme aims to raise awareness about sustainable breastfeeding environments.
Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Professor Alison McMillan, reflected ‘we should not underestimate the benefits of breastfeeding for both mothers and babies.’
Importance of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding provides a baby with all the nutrition they need for their first 6 months and influences lifelong health for both Mum and Bub. Breastfeeding is a sustainable and natural option for infant feeding and helps ensure food security for babies across all populations.
Professor McMillan added ‘breastfeeding sets up a baby’s immune system. It decreases their risk of many illnesses and decreases a mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer later in life.’ Even if you are not able to feed your baby at the breast, you can still give expressed or donor breastmilk to ensure a strong nutritional start to life.
The Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines supports and recommends exclusively breastfeeding for babies up until 6 months of age. Parents can introduce solid foods with breastfeeding until 12 months of age, and beyond.
The Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond advocates for a supportive environment for breastfeeding. The Strategy aims to improve the health, nutrition and wellbeing of infants, young children, and mothers.
We are proud to be a Breastfeeding Friendly Accredited Workplace and encourage other workplaces to get on board. Professor McMillan explained ‘supporting your staff to be able to continue breastfeeding when they return to work not only benefits them and their baby, but the benefits to your business are also significant, including retaining valuable corporate knowledge, increased retention rates and lower absenteeism. ’Becoming an accredited breastfeeding friendly workplace is easy, simply contact the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
Breastfeeding is the natural first food for babies, but it can be challenging, and everyone’s breastfeeding journey is different. It is a woman’s right to breastfeed in public so let's work together to create a supportive environment and Step Up for Breastfeeding.