Every year, between the 1st and the 7th of August, we get to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. This week commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, World Health Organisation, UNICEF and other organisations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until a baby is 6 months old. After this time, healthy complementary foods should be offered while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years or more.
Breastfeeding in Scotland
In Scotland breastfeeding is protected by the Scotland Act 2005 under which it is an offence to stop someone from feeding their child with milk in a public place. Under Scottish law you have the right to breastfeed or bottle feed a child in public until he/she is 24 months old. The legislation allows for fines for preventing breastfeeding in public places.
As World Breastfeeding Week approaches, the Scottish government has announced an extra £2m investment in order to support Scottish mothers in their breastfeeding journey.
“Breastfeeding has many long and short-term health benefits for both the mother and the child but we know that for some mums and babies breastfeeding can be challenging.
It is vital that mums are well supported throughout their time breastfeeding, especially where they may be experiencing difficulties, and this additional funding will help with some of the common issues they may face early on.
We are also continuing to invest in activities which will normalise breastfeeding and enable mums to feel more comfortable and supported when breastfeeding in public.”
Public Health Minister Joe Fitzpatrick
You can read the double funding for breastfeeding article on the BBC website.
Made in the Moon & Breastfeeding
We believe it is very important for mothers to have a strong support system in order for them to be able to successfully take on their breastfeeding journeys. Even though breastfeeding is natural it still needs to be learned by both mummy and baby. It is very important for this learning and bonding to happen as breastfeeding is nutritious for baby and healing for mummy.
We have been exclusively breastfeeding for almost 9 weeks now. I have had my ups and downs and was very close to giving up on our third week. On my Birth Plan vs Reality post I talked about the complications I had during birth. These complications, though minor, stopped me from being able to breastfeed within the first hour our baby was born. I feel this has had an effect on our breastfeeding journey and is one of the reasons we have struggled during the first weeks. I was very determined to breastfeed my son and seek support from other mummies on a Facebook breastfeeding support group. Their kind words helped me push through my fear and see that continuing to breastfeed is the best I can do for my baby. Without this support I might have given up early like many other mothers in the UK.
There used to be 6 breastfeeding drop-in support clinics in Edinburgh. They have all been closed. For support we have to consult our Midwife or Health Visitor. La Leche League does support group meetings twice a month.
Another issue some breastfeeding mothers have is the struggle with public feeds. Some mothers decide not to breastfeed just to avoid having to feed in public. It is important to normalise breastfeeding so mothers can feel comfortable nursing their babies regardless of where this happens.