At Mila's Keeper, we try not to hold any one month above the rest. But the first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week.
And that's just the precursor to National Breastfeeding Month. We can't help but celebrate!
See Related: A Letter To Mamas Everywhere
Why do we celebrate Breastfeeding Awareness Month?
Breastfeeding Awareness Month began back in 2011. Since then, World Breastfeeding Week has been extended to include the entire month of August.
And in 2013, Black Breastfeeding Week was established to highlight the particular challenges facing Black breastfeeding parents. Plenty of strides have been made within the breastfeeding community.
So, what exactly are we continuing to celebrate and advocate for during National Breastfeeding Month? Read up on the breastfeeding goals below as declared by the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee:
To normalize and impress the importance of breastfeeding
Human milk production is the most natural of processes. And yet many mothers are shamed when they breastfeed in public while simply offering their infant nutrition and support.
Raising awareness about breastfeeding is the first step to supporting parents and moms. Because no one should feel like they can't offer their child protection while nursing in public.
To support breastfeeding mothers
Parents already have a lot on their plates. From the start of pregnancy, they're likely reading up on everything there is to learn about premature babies, pediatrics, ear infections, and this unique liquid gold.
Every mother will raise their children differently. Some may want their infants breastfed for only the first six months. Others may want to continue breastfeeding for the entire first year.
One mother may want their babies exclusively breastfed, while another mom may supplement with complementary foods. Either way, there is no one right way to raise a baby so long as both baby and Mama's health and happiness are put first.
But support for breastfeeding parents goes beyond allowing them to set their own rules. It feeds into legislation too (pun intended).
Back in 2010, The Break Time for Nursing Mothers act was passed, requiring employers to provide reasonable break time for breastfeeding employees throughout the day. Plus, access to a private, non-bathroom space.
Now, the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act is at work to strengthen this former law, expanding workplace protections for lactating workers, clarifying employers’ obligations under the law, and ensuring breastfeeding mothers have access to appropriate remedies.
As you can see, breastfeeding awareness is more than just a month to celebrate breastfeeding parents. It’s about establishing legislature and resources that will allow them to better care for their infants and themselves.
To provide breastfeeding education
There are plenty of benefits associated with mother's breast milk. And yet breastfeeding rates continue to decline when women are not supported by their families, friends, or anyone else in their life.
Teaching the general population about breast milk, donor milk, and more can help women and patients along in their own breastfeeding journeys. Namely because learning the following information can de-stigmatize, educate, and communicate with those unaware of the fact that milk is the force of life.
Plus, once that kind of educational content is out there, it’s likely more people will take issue with the fact that paid parental leave in the U.S. pales in comparison to that of the rest of the world.
To highlight how others may help breastfeeding mothers as they face challenges
The promotion of breastfeeding must be coupled with actionable steps for families to take that help to support both baby and Mama. Whether it's understanding the emotional bond that comes with breastfeeding or becoming educated on what specific obstacles Black women and babies face within the breastfeeding community.
Creating this structure of support for both infant and Mama is not only integral to maintaining a feeding schedule that works for both parties. But for helping them to achieve their own unique breastfeeding goals.
How can you celebrate Breastfeeding Awareness Month and offer breastfeeding support?
While August is just one month out of the year, these actions can be taken year-round. Here are some steps you can take to support the breastfeeding parents in your life:
#1. Support local breastfeeding and human services
There are tons of breastfeeding organizations that you can donate to. But if you want your contribution to feel a little more tangible, consider checking out what we have in store at Mila's Keeper!
Our patented, insulated breast milk cooler offers 18+ hours of worry-free coldness designed for breastmilk storage and can also be repurposed for water. Plus, our 100% plastic free, glass breast milk storage bottles are the perfect way to store your liquid gold while you're on the go.
We believe in protecting all babies and Mamas - including our dear Mama Earth - who inspired us to make these eco-friendly breast milk storage options.
#2. Educate yourself on the health benefits of breastfeeding
Aside from offering nutrition, did you know that breastfeeding has been linked to lower rates of breast cancer? And can even help breastfeeding parents get back to their pre-pregnancy weight?
There's plenty to learn about breastfeeding. And the more you know, the better you'll be able to support the breastfeeding parents in your life.
#3. Promote breastfeeding education by sharing with others
No amount of educational learning is valuable without that knowledge being passed on. So as you go through August, take the time to advocate on behalf of breastfeeding parents.
The responsibility to educate should not fall upon their shoulders. They're a little busy with everything else!
The bottom line
Obviously, we at Mila's Keeper celebrate the wonders of breastfeeding for longer than one month. But for those just joining in on the movement, welcome!
Our mission is to empower women to thrive during their breastfeeding journey. So they may help their babies, families, and communities thrive alongside them.
Keep Reading: How Mila's Keeper Was Born From A Failed Unicef Project
A female-designed and female-run company, Mila's Keeper is on a mission to empower women to thrive during their breastfeeding journey by offering reusable, eco-friendly breast milk storage solutions for their day-to-day needs. Get the latest tips and info on Mila's Keeper products by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.