While breastfeeding is a natural act, it is also a learned behaviour, therefore ensuring that expectant mothers are prepared is key. pic: pexels.com

While breastfeeding is a natural act, it is also a learned behaviour, therefore ensuring that expectant mothers are prepared is key.

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated around the world from 1 to 7 August every year to raise awareness, protect, promote and support breastfeeding worldwide.

In a statement this week Laura Sayce, Lactation Consultant at Life Healthcare’s Genesis Maternity Clinic, said research has demonstrated that mothers and other caregivers require active support for establishing and sustaining appropriate breastfeeding practices.

“There are two essential ways to prepare for breastfeeding ahead of the birth. Expectant mothers should start by attending a breastfeeding class conducted by a certified lactation expert. They also need a breastfeeding plan.”

Sayce said for a successful breastfeeding journey every new mom needs a plan which should include what to do in the first hours following birth, and who they can contact for support. The plan should also consider what steps to take for any special needs, such as how to ensure baby receives breastmilk in the event mom and baby may not be able to breastfeed,” she said.

Sayce said often mothers don’t realise that if baby doesn’t latch or needs to go to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), they can still express breastmilk to feed their baby.

“World Breastfeeding Week gives us an opportunity to further educate people about the benefits of breastfeeding to save lives and improve the overall health of infants and their mothers,” she said.