Happy Worldwide Breastfeeding Week!

via desireefawn on flickr

via desireefawn on flickr

This year the celebration took place from August 1 to August 7, and had the following objectives:

1. To draw attention to the importance of Peer Support in helping mothers to establish and sustain breastfeeding.

2. To inform people of the highly effective benefits of Peer Counselling, and unite efforts to expand peer counselling programmes.

3. To encourage breastfeeding supporters, regardless of thei r educat ional background, to step forward and be trained to support mothers and babies.

4. To identify local community support contacts for breastfeeding mothers, that women can go to for help and support after giving birth.

5. To call on governments and maternity facilities globally to actively implement the Ten Steps, in particular Step 10, to improve duration and rates of exclusive breastfeeding.

In honor of the global conversation about breastfeeding, Fearless Formula Feeder’s Suzanne Barston started the “I Support You” movement with Jamie Lynne Grumet of I Am Not The Babysitter and Mama By The Bay, Kim Simon:

You, at the La Leche League meeting. You, in the lactation consultant’s office, perfecting your newborn’s latch. You, in the Nordstrom’s dressing room, nursing quietly on the couch. You, at your older son’s baseball game, nursing openly in the bleachers. You, who have cried rivers of tears over your feeding choices, and you, who chose without fear.

I support you.

You, in your hospital gown, asking the nurses for formula. You, shaking a bottle with one arm while your baby snuggles close in the other. You, who have researched the healthiest, most tummy-friendly formulas. You, who pump and mix and combo-feed. You, who have cried rivers of tears over your feeding choices, and you, who chose without fear.

I support you.

You, with your partner, as you feed the baby that you are hoping to adopt. You, who had a mastectomy and are locking eyes with new life. You, who chose your mental health, or your physical health, or your freedom, or your lack of freedom, so that you could feed your baby in a way that protected both of you. You, the Daddy who is finger-feeding your infant. You, the Mommy who lovingly pours formula into a G-Tube. You, at the NICU, pumping your breasts by the light of the machines that are keeping your baby alive. You, with the foster child who you are loving back to health. We see you. You are a part of this conversation too.

We support you.

Should you choose to breastfeed, the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival can help you with some tips for normalizing  (even for older children) and stories from other mothers. Over at Nursing in Public, you can find some of the best and worst airline breastfeeding policies. (If at first you feel discouraged, remember that you might not hate it the second time around. If you like it, remember that you can stay strong.)

Most importantly, don’t be embarrassed – no matter what choice you make about breastfeeding.

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Carmen Rios

Carmen splits her time disparately between feminist rabble-rousing, writing, public speaking, and flower-picking. She is currently Communications Coordinator at the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Straddleverse and Feminism Editor at Autostraddle, and a writer with FORCE. Carmen is a SPARK alum and former Managing Editor of THE LINE Campaign blog. She's part of an oncoming anthology about girls' activism.