You might have seen a lot of posts of photos of nursing moms celebrating World Breastfeeding Week -- but what the heck is it?
World Breastfeeding Week has been around since 1991 when WABA (the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action) organized the event as "one unique unifying social mobilisation event that can build solidarity and action."
The call this year is for “concerted global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work.” WABA describes three necessary factors to make this happen:
TIME: Time for maternity leave (six month minimum!), time for breastfeeding breaks, and flexible work hours.
SPACE/PROXIMITY: Childcare near the workplace and transportation for women to be near their babies, private facilities for expressing breast milk, and clean work environments free of harmful chemicals.
SUPPORT: Includes positive attitudes about breastfeeding in public, job security and non-discrimination on the grounds of maternity and breastfeeding, and information about national laws and benefits as well as education about women’s health so women are better able to combine employment with breastfeeding and childcare needs.
Clearly the US has a long way to go to meet these goals! Kudos to all of the many women who have combined work and breastfeeding in today’s (and yesterday’s) less-than-ideal climate.
Here in Chicago, we celebrated World Breastfeeding Week with the help of Breastfeed Chicago and The Big Latch-On! Dozens of nursing women brought their children to the beautiful Garfield Park Conservatory to mingle with other parents, get free temporary tattoos, and meet representatives from various nonprofits including Babywearing International, Chicagoland Rainbow Families, Chicago Region Breastfeeding Taskforce, and Breastfeeding USA. At 10:30 am, everyone “latched on,” joining over 13,000 latches worldwide!
Nurse on, mamas! What are you doing to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week?