Breastfeeding Awareness Month is in full swing this August and, as with every year, each week is featuring a new event and focus. For the month of August, Radius will focus both on the collective responsibility and the individual struggles breastfeeders face in the United States and some strategies for countering these difficulties.
Take a look at our breakdown of Breastfeeding Awareness Month and let us know how you plan to get involved!
Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility
World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) seeks to inform, anchor, engage, and galvanize action to protect and normalize breastfeeding. Running for the first week of August, WBW works with volunteers and like-minded groups to spread informative resources on the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as the dangers the movement is facing.
From there, WBW works to anchor breastfeeding support as a vital public health responsibility and engage with individuals and organizations for a greater impact. The goal is to have more active supporters speaking out for the movement to protect breastfeeding. This will create a healthier, more supportive environment for those who breastfeed.
In an effort to be more inclusive, many groups are starting to use the term chestfeeding as an alternative to breastfeeding. It includes anyone of any gender who feeds a child human milk from their chest. The new term may not be as popular as breastfeeding or bottle-feeding just yet, but it is an important step in the right direction of inclusivity.
Nourishing Our Futures
Native Breastfeeding Week occurs during the second week of August. From the 8th to the 14th, organizations will be highlighting the “Native Breastfeeding experience in all forms through the visibility of personal testimonies, partner experiences, research, articles, barriers, and/or success”.
Communities that are involved are looking to address the inequity that native people face when it comes to practicing their roles as breastfeeders in accordance with the tribal communities they descend from. Additionally, based on the limited data, American Indian/Alaskan Native mothers have lower rates of breastfeeding initiation (introduction of breastfeeding within one hour of birth), duration, and exclusivity relative to other racial/ethnic groups except for African Americans.
Reclaiming Our Tradition
The third week of Breastfeeding Awareness Month is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Breastfeeding Week. 2021 is the first official year for AANHPI Breastfeeding Week, which comes from the resilient efforts of local groups to bring awareness and support during a year filled with anti-Asian hatred.
On a national level, the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) is leading the charge for this year’s theme of ‘reclaiming our tradition’. The USBC and partnering bodies are making a push for representation of breastfeeding in the AANHPI community in America, as the traditions of breastfeeding are regularly lost between native countries and life in America.
The Big Pause: Collective Rest for Collective Power
Black Breastfeeding Week is the ending week on August, from the 25th to the 31st. Racial disparity in the United States is not a new conversation, so this movement was created to bring attention to the factors that prevent Black Americans from breastfeeding.
This year’s theme is ‘Collective Rest for Collective Power’, which talks about the way we, but breastfeeders especially, should be encouraged and allowed to rest. The movement talks about the racial imbalances seen in infant mortality rates, lack of diversity in the lactation field, and ‘desert-like’ community conditions that put Black breastfeeders at a severe disadvantage.
Throughout the month, whether you breastfeed or not, take the time to get involved in your community. The more diverse the support, the more likely it is to be heard in all communities, not just by those already afflicted.
If you are interested in getting involved as a provider and are looking for a role that will allow you to do so, take a look at our job board. If you are looking for something other than what we have posted, or are unsure of what you are looking for, send us your resume directly and we will connect you with a recruiter.