BMH celebrates World Breastfeeding Week

BRATTLEBORO — The Windham County Breastfeeding Coalition is set to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1 to 7. This year's theme, celebrated in 175 countries, is “Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal For Life!”

Joining in locally are breastfeeding supporters from Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, the Vermont Department of Health, the Brattleboro chapter of Babywearing International, and others.

The theme asserts the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding. Organizers say they're thinking globally and acting locally.

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) encourages communities to consider how breastfeeding promotion fits in to the larger global picture. Breastfeeding was one of the eight global “Millenium Development Goals” set by the United Nations in 1990 to fight poverty and promote health and sustainability by 2015.

The U.N has found that, in the past two decades, child mortality has decreased by about 40 percent, but still almost seven million children under 5 die each year, mainly from preventable diseases.

Fewer than half of women wordwide deliver in baby-friendly maternities. Exclusive breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding are key interventions for improving child survival, potentially saving about 20 percent of children under 5.

Now, with the 2014 FIFA World Cup still fresh in many minds, the BMH's 10-Step team is creating a display board with a soccer theme outside the hospital's cafeteria. This board emphasizes how individuals can cheer on breastfeeding mothers and how BMH is doing its part.

Specifically, BMH notes in a press release, it offers free breastfeeding classes and support groups. Its “golden hour” initiative has newborn babies staying skin-to-skin with their mothers in the first hour of life, if both are stable, with 24-hour rooming as a standard of care. The hospital makes lactation consultants available, and all staff are trained in lactation management.

BMH says everyone else can cheer on breastfeeding mothers and their babies by allowing Mom to feed baby as needed and by bringing her water to drink while nursing.

“Help mother get rest, reassure her, and help her get comfortable. Seek support when needed, and don't forget to smile at a breastfeeding mom today,” says the press release.

Moreover, the Windham County Breastfeeding Coalition is hosting a party with the New Moms Network on Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to noon in BHM's Tyler Conference Room. The event aims to help moms recognize and acknowledge their local breastfeeding heroes, decorate cupcakes, and create special soft, nontoxic nursing necklaces.

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