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  • Marie

World Breastfeeding Week 2018

World Breastfeeding Week falls each year on the first week of August - refer to the infographics from the World Health Organizaion (WHO) if you want to learn more about the organization's recommendations and learn about breastfeeding actions in the world.

On the occasion webinars and communications campaigns are launched worldwide. The Pan American Health Organization, the WHO Regional Office for the Americas, organizes for example on August 6th the webinar "Breastfeeding: benefits and country experiences" covering experiences and recommendations rom Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay.

WHO encourages mothers to breastfeed their babies for at least 6 months and possibly to complement appropriate nutritious food with breastmilk until 2 years and more.

How feasible is this, wherever you are in the world, is however another question: from medical reasons to regulatory ones, not even talking about social acceptance of breastfeeding in public, or the existence (and mostly the lack) of infastructure allowing women to proceed in peace, this is a never-ending fight that to me deals mostly with a very subjective matter in often non-appropriate ways.

My personal experience as a mother in the United Arab Emirates has made it very hard to implement these recommendations to the longest time. With a maternity leave set for the private sector to 45 calendar days, combined with 2 breaks of 30 mn allowed to proceed or pump in the office without any approprite space, conditions were obviously not there, and I was proud enough to manage until the end of the fourth month. I was also lucky enough to be medically and mentally fit to move forward, and there was a sufficient range of motherhood consultants available to help women with their journey.

I have known mothers refusing to breastfeed at birth, some others not able medically to even start, and others breastfeeding even after 2 years. Some have enjoyed this time with their babies, some have suffered through it to comply with these recommendations as long as they could. To all mothers here, recommendations or no recommendations, do what you can with what you have, to the best of your health and your child's.

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