The theme for this year’s
Natural Parents Network was excited to help communicate with the world about breastfeeding when Faiza of Voice of America asked our cofounders, Dionna of Code Name: Mama and Lauren of Hobo Mama, to participate in a radio interview about World Breastfeeding Week, along with editor and contributor Kelly of Becoming Crunchy.2 We want to share both the interview itself as well as some more of Lauren and Dionna’s thoughts about World Breastfeeding Week. You can find the sound file for the interview and a related article on Voice of America here.
History and Purpose of World Breastfeeding Week
World Breastfeeding Week was born out of a collaboration between the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA),3 the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF). WBW has been celebrated from August 1-7 every year since it began in 1992. Today more than 170 countries participate in WBW by hosting outreach events at health centers, creatively exploring breastfeeding through artwork and exhibits, encouraging breastfeeding education in schools and businesses, and showing virtual support through Facebook, Twitter (#WBW), and other online venues.
WABA organizes WBW each year in an effort to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding” by putting breastfeeding in an international spotlight.4 WABA is dedicated to nurturing a “breastfeeding culture” so that more women both exclusively nurse for six months and continue to nurse for up to two years and beyond.5
How Natural Parents Network Supports and Promotes Breastfeeding
NPN’s goal in all aspects of parenting – including breastfeeding – is to inform, empower, and inspire parents. For breastfeeding mothers, we offer information through articles and on our resource pages to help educate parents about the importance of breastfeeding as well as the support available online.
We strive to empower and inspire women not only by publishing articles from mothers who have breastfed, but also by building a supportive community – on Facebook, on our Forum, and on our site through our “Ask the NP Mentor” panel.
Many women do not have adequate local support, so NPN is dedicated to building an online supportive community that supplements the resources that each woman does have at home. So often women experience breastfeeding problems in the dead of night or during times when it is hard to leave the house or even reach out to someone on the phone. Getting online for help is very common, and our thriving community of parents is dedicated to informing, empowering, and inspiring every mother without judgment or criticism.
Why Does Natural Parents Network Focus So Much on Community?
Dionna and Lauren believe that the key for many mothers in their continued breastfeeding journeys is support. Even though global exclusive breastfeeding rates continue to rise, there is still so much subtle societal pressure on breastfeeding mothers – both to keep breastfeeding hidden, and to wean prematurely.6
The writers who contribute to NPN have such diverse experiences and challenges, and each one is committed to sharing that information in order to inspire other mothers to persevere through their own difficulties. We have a mother of twins who found ways to preserve her breastfeeding relationship through supplementing, a seasoned NICU mama who offers tips on exclusive pumping, a working mama who shares advice on how to prepare for breastfeeding when you return to work, tips from mentors on how to handle negative comments about breastfeeding, and so much more. And be sure to check out the fantastic articles we featured on NPN during WBW. From healing mastitis naturally, to a comparison of two women’s breastfeeding journeys (one who had a good support system, one who didn’t), to the benefits of breastfeeding for moms, our authors offered a great mix of breastfeeding information.
And our contributors don’t limit their wisdom to articles through NPN; you can also be informed, empowered, and inspired by subscribing to our volunteers’ sites! Here is just a small sampling of articles written by NPN volunteers:
- Amy at Anktangle has shared seven common breastfeeding problems and how she overcame each one.
- Isil discusses the five essentials breastfeeding mothers need at Smiling Like Sunshine.
- Jennifer records her thoughts on why breastfeeding a toddler is hilarious at Hybrid Rasta Mama.
- Dionna from Code Name: Mama is documenting her own journey of breastfeeding through pregnancy, including how she reduced access to the breast at night without night weaning, as well as some common discomforts experienced by nursing pregnant mamas and how to relieve them.
- Lauren from Hobo Mama offers tips for tandem nursing a baby and older toddler or preschooler as well as documenting her own experience so far.
- Momma Jorje talks about how common thrush is and about the best natural cure.
- Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama gives us her daughter’s perspective on why toddlers love to breastfeed.
- The Artful Mama confesses to the difficulty of balancing breastfeeding a toddler with trying to conceive.
- Darcel from The Mahogany Way shares beautiful pictures of Black mothers breastfeeding.
- Amanda from Let’s Take the Metro gives her must-haves for nursing mothers.
Posts just like and including the above have been entered into our bloghop linky (below) throughout the week, bringing the inspiring total to well over 170 articles. Throughout the natural parenting blogosphere, authors and readers have been sharing their posts on breastfeeding successes, challenges, and stories — communicating actively about breastfeeding so that parents who are interested in breastfeeding can find the support they need. Please take some time to visit a few sites and leave comments on these posts – support the writers who are advocates for breastfeeding!
We’re celebrating World Breastfeeding Week on Natural Parents Network!
You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected in the linky and on Natural Parents Network this week.
(Visit this intro post for more information and for the code to place on your blog.)
- WABA 2011 PDF at 1. ↩
- The Voice of America reaches an estimated weekly global audience of 123 million, so Lauren, Dionna, and Kelly weren’t under too much pressure to perform well on the twenty minutes notice they had to prep before their live interview. ↩
- The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network of individuals and organizations concerned with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide based on the Innocenti Declarations, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future, and the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. Its core partners are International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), La Leche League International (LLLI), International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), Wellstart International, and Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM). WABA 2011 PDF at 6. ↩
- Nurturing the Future Through World Breastfeeding Week ↩
- WABA Innocenti Declaration ↩
- This is one reason Dionna also cofounded NursingFreedom.org, a site dedicated to the normalization of breastfeeding and more significantly, breastfeeding in public. ↩