Sustainable development in the words of one Dr Omar-Salim means, development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Now as far as sustainable development is concerned, in our own little ways, we play a role. One such role is to breastfeed. Yep! Men and women alike should protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
Here is why. Breastfeeding influences nutrition and food security; health, development and survival; ability to achieve full educational potential and economic productivity. It is also a fact that that breastfeeding is an environmentally sustainable method of feeding compared to the alternatives. As was reported in The Lancet in January only 1 in 3 children in low and middle income countries are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months. Consequently, millions of children are failing to receive the full benefits provided by breastfeeding.
My cousin just had a baby and is going to be home until January on a paid maternity leave. She is lucky. But should breastfeeding be at the mercy of luck? So your organization cannot give maternity leaves that long, but can they provide a nursing room; a clean space where mum’s can express, a fridge for them to store their milk, flextime? Those staying with women who are breastfeeding, do you understand that it is important they breastfeed exclusively for the first six months? Are you supporting them?
The bottom line is, a mum who is less worried about her child is more focused on whatever she engages in, and therefore more productive. Ultimately, we will spend less on treatment and save lives, have more to spend on nutritious food, prevent obesity and diabetes later in life, increase intelligence in our children, as well as reduce the risk for breast and cervical cancer.
Happy breastfeeding week!!