World Breastfeeding Week

ADVOCACY

World Breastfeeding Week  (WBW) is a campaign organised by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (Waba). It is considered one of the largest joint campaigns of international organisations such as WHO and Unicef of that kind, promoting the benefits of breastfeeding. World Breastfeeding Week has been celebrated annually in about 120 countries since 1991.  Since 2016, WBW is also aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In most countries, WBW is celebrated every 1-7 August however some countries celebrate in May, October or November. If you want to engage more in the political campaign of the WABA, please visit their website at www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org 

Miracle Babies strongly supports breastfeeding and wants to help increase the number of newborns that benefit from breastmilk, especially babies born premature or sick at birth. 

"Before your baby is born, you spend time imagining their birth and how you would care for them. You may have even spent time thinking about how you planned to feed your little one after their arrival. When your baby is born premature or sick and admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Nursery (SCN), you find yourself needing to adjust your dreams and expectations." 
-
Melinda Cruz, Miracle Babies Founder and Miracle Mum

Why is breastmilk so important for premature and sick babies?

Breast milk is important for all babies but for premature and sick newborns, it provides vitally important health benefits and acts like a medicine that only mothers milk can provide. Research has shown that the composition of a mother’s breast milk is different if her baby is born premature than if her baby was born fullterm. It is tailored to the needs of a premature gut and is highly beneficial for baby.  

The longer a premature or sick baby has access to breastmilk, the more profound and long-lasting the benefits. 

  • Breast milk provides better nutrient absorption, digestive functioning and nervous system development.
  • Colostrum (first milk) is rich in antibodies called ‘immunoglobins’ and coats the gastro-intestinal tract, stomach and intestines, providing protection from viruses and bacteria.
  • Mothers of premature babies produce milk that is higher in nitrogen, protein, lipids, fatty acids, vitamins, calcium and other vital elements that are important to the development of premmies.
  • Breast milk antibodies protect from viruses such as gastroenteritis, sepsis and necrotising enterocolitis.
  • Research shows that breast milk reduces the risk of conditions such as allergies, asthma and eczema.
  • The varying composition of breast milk keeps pace with the baby’s changing nutritional needs.
  • Breast milk has vital long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are essential to brain development.

New mothers need continued emotional support to build not only establish an initial supply but to continue during lengthy hospital stays and also in making the transition from expressing to feeding the baby at the breast.   

Providing for Others

To support those mothers and babies who do not have access to their mother’s own milk, human milk banks will continue to play a vital role in the care of our countries most vulnerable babies. It is the right of every baby being cared for in a NICU or SCN to have access to their mother’s own milk or donor milk - the only milk that has been designed specifically by nature to give them the best help when they are at such a high risk of serious complications or sadly, death.

“I just wanted to share this picture. This was the last lot of milk I donated to the milk bank (in Perth). I donated 3 times over 7 weeks. My son was born at 23+5 weeks and sadly passed away at 3 days old. I decided, instead of dumping my large milk supply I would pump for other micro prems.” - Miracle Mum, Jessica (shared on the Miracle Babies Foundation Facebook page).

This years theme is “support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”. In line with this theme, WHO and UNICEF are calling on governments to protect and promote women's access to skilled breastfeeding counselling, a critical component of breastfeeding support.

For support in Australia, contact:
Miracle Babies Foundation
www.miraclebabies.org.au
1300 662 243 (24hour NurtureLine)

Australian Breastfeeding Association
www.breastfeeding.asn.au
1800 686 268

To donate breastmilk, contact:
LifeBlood MilkBank
www.milkbank.com.au
1300 459 040

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