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World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations in Asia & the Middle East

RuthAnna Mather
Northern Japan
From New Beginnings, Vol. 26 No. 1, 2009, pp. 40-41

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is officially recognized every year in the first week of August. In honor of this event, La Leche League Leaders and members around the world plan events throughout the year to help support LLL at local and international levels. WBW events also raise breastfeeding awareness in local communities.

Leaders and Groups from La Leche League Asia and the Middle East participated in World Breastfeeding Week, using www.lllusa.org/wbw for information and sharing of ideas. Here are some ideas that you may be able to use when participating in the planning of a WBW celebration.

LLL of Okinawa, Japan: Nicole Applehans, Okinawa Leader, shared that La Leche League in Okinawa, Japan, celebrated with a picnic at White Beach on Okinawa. There were games and grilled food. Families attending the event brought a dish to share, too.

LLL of Philippines: Cris Rosenthal, Leader in the Philippines, wrote that La Leche League in Manila, Philippines World Breastfeeding Week is becoming a well celebrated event around the globe with charitable giving, awareness walks, breastfeeding marathon, lectures and talks. For La Leche League Manila, WBW was spent celebrating a quiet afternoon with a village in Pook Masagana, Quezon City. Here 30 mothers participated in mother-to-mother support discussions centered around pregnancy, breastfeeding, and nutrition.

In a third world country, where mortality rates are high and where the poorest population needing the healthiest nutrition and cost-effective means to provide nourishment to their children are seemingly very important, this same population can be the group easily swayed by media and formula milk advertising. In an effort to help reach out to those in need, LLL Manila has committed to reach out by giving back to the community and empowering mothers in the village to help support each other in breastfeeding.

LLL of Beijing, China: Ivy Makelin, LLL Leader in Beijing, China, writes that La Leche League in Beijing, China held a press conference program to kick off World Breastfeeding Week 2008. The topic was Mother Support: Going for the Gold. As the 2008 Olympics and World Breastfeeding Week were being celebrated, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action called for increased support for mothers striving to achieve the gold standard of infant feeding: by breastfeeding their babies exclusively for the first six months, and continuing to breastfeed together with feeding other appropriate complementary foods for up to two years and beyond.

This press conference was attended by the media, speakers, mothers, and families. During the time leading up to the speakers, breastfeeding public service announcements were played for all to view.

The speakers included Ms. Ding Bing, who introduced the topic for this year and emphasized the need for mother support. Dr. Dai Yaohua, WHO Project Director of China projects, Dr. David Hipgrave, and Dr. Chang Suying from UNICEF also spoke. Then a mother representative spoke from personal experience on the need for support and how she received it from various circles to enable her to continue breastfeeding.

Beverly Peckous from Beijing United Family Hospital shared the importance of health care providers to support breastfeeding mothers, and LLL Leader Ren Yuwen from Shanghai shared the risks of not breastfeeding and the benefits of breastfeeding.

LLL of Shanghai, China: Melanie Ham, LLL Leader in Shanghai, China, wrote that La Leche League in Shanghai, China participated in a "Health Fair" featuring various health care resources. They printed a Mother Support: Going for the Gold banner and asked everyone who supported breastfeeding at the fair to sign their names. A table with informational pamphlets, t-shirts, books, and slings was available.

Overall it was a fun event and a great bonding experience for volunteer mothers since they had the whole day to sit and chat while introducing LLL to the community and raising funds.

LLL of Saudi Arabia: Anne Batterjee, LLL Leader in Saudi Arabia, shared that they delayed their events until after Ramadan (month of fasting) and held them in October. They held lectures and stands at a private hospital in Jeddah and three government hospitals. In Mecca, the government maternity hospital planned the same sort of event and distributed informative handouts.

Due to the fact that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, a gathering of 300 women was organized at a local hotel. The main topic was women's health with speakers promoting breast cancer awareness, talks from survivors, and a speaker that linked the health benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child and the reduction in the risk of cancer.

Breastfeeding and the fact that LLL is a place to come to for support was promoted. Within the information provided, the LLLI mother's support group and Peer Counselor Program training was included as a means of promoting La Leche League International. Fundraising directly is not possible a local official regional branch of an organization is promoted.

2009 WBWC in the USA Sponsors

Platinum Dual Elite Level ($5,000+)
ERGO Baby Carrier, Inc.
Mothering Magazine
Motherlove Herbal Company

Gold Level ($1,500+)
Ameda Breastfeeding Products

Emerald Level ($750+)
Sleepy Wrap, Inc

Ruby Level ($500+)
gDiapers
Mother's Milk Tea by Traditional Medicinals

Silver Level ($200+)
Breast Pumps Direct
Mama Knows Breast
Platypus Media
Science Naturally!

Bronze Level (merchandise)
Cozy Cocoon
Over the Shoulder Baby Holder
Umbilical Card

For more information on Sponsors for WBW in the USA go to www.lllusa.org

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