It’s that time of the year again, when many around the world celebrate local, national, and international breastfeeding awareness events – days, weeks, and months. As a breastfeeding mother of almost 30 months and counting, with a keen interest in the beautiful mothering / family / societal act, art, and science of breastfeeding, this is an exciting time.
It’s also a fab time to win breastfeeding related prizes and get breastfeeding related products at a discount from relevant brands; and indeed a time to help raise money for vital breastfeeding services in our communities.
All through the year in various countries, many breastfeeding awareness events are held, some as a matter of course; like the annual general meetings of different breastfeeding charities. And other events are more ad hoc, to protest against breastfeeding prejudice and discrimination; like nurse-ins, where mothers gather in agreed locations to lawfully and publicly breastfeed their children. These events are vital for the promotion, protection, and support of breastfeeding worldwide.
Below is a list of key breastfeeding awareness events in the UK, US, and around the world in 2016; it’s of course not an exhaustive list. Perhaps you’ve heard of some, most, or all of them. They are events that are no doubt informative and definitely interesting to all who want to find out more about breastfeeding, and further engage with this amazing act.
Key Breastfeeding Awareness Dates 2016
October / November
The Breastfeeding Network’s Big Tea Break fundraising event is a fun event for families, volunteers, and health professionals to get involved with. It aims to raise money for the Network’s Drugs in Breastmilk Information Service, a vital portal that has empowered many women to continue their breastfeeding journey beyond what they might have thought possible.
World Breastfeeding Week, now in its 24th year, and celebrated in over 170 countries, runs from Monday 1 to Sunday 7 August. This year’s theme explores the vital role of breastfeeding within sustainability. This is in relation to its contribution to the achievement of the 17 sustainable development goals that world leaders committed to last September, towards ending poverty around the world. The theme addresses 5 broad links between breastfeeding and the sustainable goals:
- nutrition and food security
- health, well-being, and survival
- environment and climate change,
- work productivity, empowerment, and social protection
- sustainable partnerships and rule of law
I really like this year’s theme because of its link to different development issues over the next 14 years. This exploration of the role of breastfeeding in how we “value our wellbeing from the start of life, how to respect each other and care for the world we share” is definitely thought-provoking.
In the US, August is also National Breastfeeding Month – how fab is that … a whole month of focused breastfeeding advocacy, towards the creation of a more breastfeeding friendly society. Their focus this year is about reflecting on and reviewing the progress made in the last 5 years, on the call to action to make breastfeeding easier, and to plan for continued breastfeeding support for the next 5 years, in the US. The last week of this Month ends with Black Breastfeeding Week (BBW), for the 4th year. This year, BBW’s focus is on “spotlighting the sweet joy of family bonds and perseverance”.
The Big Latch On is happening towards the end of World Breastfeeding Week this year, at 10.30am on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 August. It’s a lovely celebration of breastfeeding, and a fun way to raise awareness and promote local, national, and international support for it. You can register online to host a Latch On, or find a location near you to attend one.
Normalizingbreastfeeding.org celebrated the 2nd International Day to Normalize Breastfeeding on 27 June, and they are celebrating the 1st US Breastfeeding Law Awareness Day on 10 August. These new breastfeeding awareness events are ones to explore, and I suspect they will continue to grow over the years.
UK National Breastfeeding Week ran from Saturday 18 June to Monday 27 June. This year’s theme was about celebrating breastfeeding by raising awareness of breastfeeding support on a local level, as well as the health value of breastfeeding for mums and babies, and indeed the general public. As usual, there were many local and regional activities to celebrate the week, including the Breastfeeding Festival at Salford in Manchester, during the 2nd weekend of the Week.
unfortunately, one of the highlights of this Week didn’t happen this year; the lovely Keep Britain Breastfeeding and its impressive scavenger hunt for fabulous breastfeeding prizes. Check out the themed blogs on Boobie Milk‘s June / August 2012 to 2015 archives for a good variety of breastfeeding reads from different bloggers.
The Breastfeeding Network runs one of their annual breastfeeding fundraising events, Mum’s Milk Run, over a week in May / June. It’s a fun event to get involved with, to raise breastfeeding awareness and support the Network’s fantastic work. It’s definitely an event that makes a difference for many, and one I’ll like to get involved with in the future.
Medela UK launched The Big Breastfeeding Cafe this year, bringing together lots of breastfeeding mums across the country, for awareness and mum to mum support on 18 May. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get involved due to work commitments; but it sure brought back lovely memories of the Medela breastfeeding cafes I hosted last year.
Medela held its 11th International Breastfeeding and Lactation Symposium in Berlin, Germany on Friday 15 to Saturday 16 April 2016. They brought together 400 participants from 41 countries, and 9 scientists from 5 countries to “discuss the results of the latest scientific research on the importance of breast milk and implementation of findings in clinical practice”.
- Breast milk provides life-long health protection
- Breastfeeding protects against chronic diseases
- Human milk – the earlier it is given, the better
- Human milk: the natural combination of nutrition and health protection
- Human milk – its constituents makes it unique
- Human milk – the optimum food for preterm babies
- New approaches to neonatal treatment
Summaries of the presentations and short videos of the speakers can be accessed online; as well as abstracts of the key topics.
I hope you found this list helpful.
Did you or are you planning to participate in any of these events?