Just found out about the World Breastfeeding Week 2013 theme and I am very very excited!!  Theme for this year is “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers'”.

Objectives are the following:

  • To draw attention to the importance of Peer Support in helping mothers to establish and sustain breastfeeding.
  • To inform people of the highly effective benefits of Peer Counselling, and unite efforts to expand peer counselling programmes.
  • To encourage breastfeeding supporters, regardless of their educational background, to step forward and be trained to support mothers and babies.
  • To identify local community support contacts for breastfeeding mothers, that women can go to for help and support after giving birth.
  • To call on governments and maternity facilities globally to actively implement the Ten Steps, in particular Step 10, to improve duration and rates of exclusive breastfeeding.

Aren’t these objectives excellent?  I cannot overemphasize the importance of having the right support to achieve breastfeeding success.  I previously blogged about starting your own mommy group

You do not have to be an expert to organize a mommy group. To have an effective mommy group, I believe that the group has to be organized by local moms who are passionate to share their own lifestyle. Once you have formed your group, you can ask experts to speak about specific topics of interest.

Nanay Rich demonstrates how to massage
*Photo from Nanay Rich*

But beyond that, you can take it a step further and get trained as a peer counselor.  Arugaan has trained counselors in several cities and continues to train moms who are interested to be peer counselors.  Lately, they have trained counselors in Davao City and Metro Manila.  I previously wrote about how to become a breastfeeding peer counselor and you can read that here.

Tintin gets ready to teach hand expression
*Photo from Nanay Rich*

Velvet and I are hoping to organize moms for a peer counselor training in Cebu.  Velvet and Stan are from Cebu and Cebu is sadly lacking in breastfeeding support.  What makes a peer counselor different from other counselors is that peer counselors (at least in the Philippines) provide free breastfeeding support and are usually moms who have breastfeeding experience.

Velvet explains positioning and latching
*Photo from Nanay Rich*

Peer counselors are the “first line of defense” – helping moms overcome initial breastfeeding struggles.  Of course, as emphasized in the LATCH training, peer counselors should also know how to YIELD.  There ARE certain breastfeeding issues that must be referred to either a more experienced counselor or an IBCLC.  However, given the numerous moms who have been experiencing initial breastfeeding issues (which I attribute to the aggressive marketing strategies of milk companies leading to an overall unsupportive breastfeeding community), there is a need to train more counselors so that more moms can be helped and encourage to breastfeed.

Looking forward to more peer counselor trainings this year!

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