To mark World Breastfeeding Week, led by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, we asked women around the world to tell us a little bit about their experience of breastfeeding. We asked them about the partnerships they’d had that mattered most to them, as well as about the ones they wished they’d had but didn’t.
Did you have support in your choice to breastfeed?
“The biggest support came from my husband who made it possible for me to take the time required to breastfeed, especially in the first weeks. Before my child was born I also attended a breastfeeding course free of charge held by a civil society organisation with a teacher who was a former midwife. I also had the possibility to call the hospital with questions, which was very helpful.” – Rebecca, Sweden
“My husband, mother, and family offered me support. But, only for the first 6 months. After that everybody asked me “when are you going to stop to breastfeeding?”” – Citlali, Mexico
What support do you wish you had during your breastfeeding journey?
“Breastfeeding classes and/or support groups, arranged by midwives.” – Tina, Denmark
“I really wish that I’d had more support from the health care system, and from the midwives I met during my pregnancy (the once I met in the postpartum period were great).” – Mia, Sweden
“I wish I’d had more time to stay with my baby so that I could breastfeed her every time she needed it.” – Kristen, Mexico
“It still feels like you have to defend why you are choosing to breastfeed for as ‘long’ as you are.” – Inge, Netherlands
“I wish there had been lactation consultants at the hospital my baby was born in, and lactation consultants who could visit my home as leaving to go to the breastfeeding clinic during the very early days was overwhelming for me as a new mother.” – Jessica, Toronto
What change do you want to see in your family/community/country when it comes to breastfeeding support for new mothers?
“I wish there could be more respect for the different decisions everyone makes and more information to sustain those decisions.” – Daniela, Mexico
“More facts, more support, more tolerance of public breastfeeding.” – S, Finland
“I would like the rhetoric around breastfeeding to change. Yes, breastfeeding is natural, but it’s not easy for new moms and babies. They need support in the very early days at the hospital with follow ups at home to address issues and reassure mom.” – Jessica, Toronto
“Society needs to develop respect for mothers’ need and want to breastfeed. We need to improve public knowledge about breastfeeding.” – Citlali, Mexico
“I wish that there was more information and discussion regarding possible problems with breastfeeding, such as how painful it can be for the mother.” – Rebecca, Sweden
“Apart from every mother making their own choice in this, what I would like to see more of is having someone show a new mother how to breastfeed. Technique is so important to prevent pain and discomfort as well as to get a good latch and feed. Learning this early on, both mother and child, may help other mothers decide to keep going for a little longer. A lacatation specialist once told us moms-to-be how breastfeeding is a learned trait – this was such an eye opener! Even gorillas still learn from observing each other. So many people think it’s an instinctive know-how.” – Inge, Netherlands
“Better support in terms of education classes on breastfeeding practises during gestation and follow-up support groups post-partum. Even a hot-line to call 24h during the first 6 months with a first child would be great!” – Tina, Denmark
“More time to pump breast milk while we’re in our office or at our jobs.” – Kristen, Mexico
“I hope that breastfeeding one day (soon!) will get the attention that it deserves. That it will be on top of agendas in terms of health and wellbeing for all. I wish that my children will learn about breastfeeding in school, and that it will become more normalized in our society.” – Mia, Sweden
Girls’ Globe is committed to ensuring that all mothers have the information, support and protection they need to breastfeed, if they choose to do so. Throughout the month of August, we will be sharing posts, videos and more in line with World Breastfeeding Week’s main objectives. Find more on our campaign page and follow on social media with #WBW2017!