“In a world filled with inequality, crisis and poverty, breastfeeding is the foundation of lifelong good health for babies and mothers.”

That’s a quote from the worldbreastfeedingweek.org website. World Breastfeeding Week is Aug. 1-7 this year and their slogan is Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life.

In a world with many options, making the decision to nurse one’s baby, or breastfeed, is a personal matter. Many medical experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, strongly recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of life, meaning no formula, juice or water. Breastfeeding is recommended for at least one year with other foods introduced around six months of age. Additionally, not all mothers are able to attain such a goal even if their will is to do so. 

There are numerous benefits for baby and mother when breastfeeding is chosen. Breastmilk provides nutrition for infants including an ideal mix of vitamins, protein and fat. Breastmilk also contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers the baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies, and babies exclusively breastfed for their first six months of life, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and bouts of diarrhea, which results in fewer trips to the doctor or hospital.

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network concerned with protecting and promoting breastfeeding. WABA coordinates the annual World Breastfeeding Week campaign, and they work closely with many organizations and partners. The Leavenworth County community has many people and businesses behind the efforts of the Leavenworth County Breastfeeding Coalition and the local La Leche League. Our top businesses receiving the Gold Award for being Breastfeeding Friendly include Bella Vita Salon, Leavenworth County and St. Luke’s Cushing Hospital. We have dozens of other businesses within the Leavenworth County area that advertise as “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” agencies.

If you would like to learn more about World Breastfeeding Week, visit the worldbreastfeedingweek.org website or check out the social media hashtag #wbw2018 on your favorite social media site (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

For questions on this topic or others, please contact the K-State Research and Extension – Leavenworth County Office at 613 Holiday Plaza in Lansing, by phone at 913-364-5700 or email Chelsi Myer at chelsim@ksu.edu

In honor of this week, let’s support all mothers in their decisions to how they feed their babies.

Chelsi Myer is a family and consumer sciences agent with K-State Research and Extension- Leavenworth County.