The theme of world breastfeeding week 2020 is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet.” Breastfeeding week is celebrated every year from 1-7 August to encourage new mothers to breastfeed and improve the health of their babies. Breastfeeding is essential for babies as it provides healthy nutrition and builds the emotional bond between mother and children. Breastfeeding is also a sustainable food system.

World Breastfeeding Week 2020 – The Theme

According to evidence-based statistics, only 58.3% of infants were breastfeeding at the age of 6 months in 2017. Breastfeeding is the best possible start in life. It delivers health and nutrition to both babies and mothers. Breastfeeding is a natural process that is not always easy. It is difficult for both mothers and babies to get started and sustain breastfeeding. 

In line with the theme, WHO and UNICEF are seeking help from the government to protect and support breastfeeding counseling for women. Skilled counseling helps the mother and family to get the necessary support, advice, information, and reassurance that are needed for breastfeeding. The skilled counseling can also help mothers respect their individual choices and circumstances. It also can empower women to overcome challenges and support optimal breastfeeding. 

Skilled breastfeeding counseling can be provided by health care professionals, lactation counselors, and other support providers in health care facilities, clinics, hospitals, home visits, community programs, or even remotely. During this COVID-19 pandemic stress, innovative measures should be followed so that mothers and babies receive the best counseling they need. 

This World Breastfeeding Week 2020, WHO and UNICEF are calling governments to invest in skilled breastfeeding counseling, train health care professionals to deliver counseling to mothers and families, ensure counseling is made available despite pandemic stress, partner and collaborate with health providers and civil society for appropriate health and counseling, Protect health care workers and influencers to give babies the best possible start in life. 

Common Breastfeeding Myths You Should Know during World Breastfeeding Week 2020

Myth 1: Nipples Hurt When You Breastfeed

It is natural for new mothers to experience discomfort during the first few days. It is also natural for the nipples to feel sore. But, breastfeeding should not hurt. You need to make sure the baby is attaching to the nipples properly. Ask a nurse/doctor/experienced mother to know the right way. 

Myth 2: Many Mothers Don’t Produce Enough Milk

Most of the mothers do produce enough milk for their babies. If you feel you aren’t producing enough milk, it could be because of these reasons:

  • Baby not latched to the nipples
  • Breastfeeding frequency is not correct
  • Baby is not removing sufficient milk with each feeding

This can be properly supported by eating the best food for lactation, taking enough rest, and doing exercise.

Myth 3: You Should Not Breastfeed If You’re Sick

Mothers should continue breastfeeding after consulting with the doctor and taking appropriate treatment. Experts believe that the antibodies that the mother develops to fight diseases will be passed on to the baby via breastfeeding. If the mother is suffering from contagious disease, she should use a breast pump to feed the baby.

Myth 4: Breastfeeding Mothers Can’t Get Pregnant

Breastfeeding is not a reliable birth control measure. AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) says, that breastfeeding does prevent ovulation in women but there is no guarantee that you couldn’t get pregnant. 

Myth 5: Breastfeeding Will Ruin the Shape of Your Breasts

Weight gain, effects of gravity, hormonal imbalances are likely to affect the shape of the breasts. Breasts go back to the normal shape after breastfeeding, though the consistency of the breasts is likely to change after pregnancy and childbirth.

Why Breastfeeding Is Important?

For a new baby, breastfeeding has several advantages. It is good for both mothers and babies to reduce the rate of health problems like obesity, diabetes, asthma, and prevent infections. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for newborn babies. So, World Breastfeeding Week 2020 focuses on educating and providing excellent counseling for new mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding.