This week is World Breastfeeding Week, highlighting the need for breastfeeding peer counseling. Studies show that there is a sharp decline in breastfeeding rates and practices, particularly exclusive breastfeeding, in the weeks and months after delivery, and this week’s objective is to emphasize the need for a community support system for mothers to sustain breastfeeding.
Julia Decker, certified lactation consultant at Pulaski Memorial Hospital, said breastfeeding is one of the most important health issues that can be highlighted and there are a number of events in the area and throughout the country. One such event, Decker said, is a community baby shower in which people are asked to bring in a baby care item to the Tot Shop, and Saturday is the Big Latch On event when groups of breastfeeding women come together at registered locations around the world to breastfeed their child for one minute while being counted by witnesses. The numbers are added up in an effort to beat previous Big Latch On records or maybe even the world record!
The objectives of World Breastfeeding Week are to draw attention to the importance of peer support in helping mothers to establish and sustain breastfeeding and to inform people of the highly effective benefits of peer counseling, and unite efforts to expand peer counseling programs. In addition, the week looks to encourage breastfeeding supporters to step forward and be trained to support mothers and babies.