Breastfeeding is essential for maternal and child health. Exclusive breastfeeding has been referred to as “The Great Equalizer”, because “it goes a long way toward canceling out health difference between being born into poverty or into affluence.”
It is a difficult time with somber and pressing challenges for communities to support families, and we may be wondering how events intersect with the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding may be an underrepresented health equity issue in support of families. The health inequities around breastfeeding continue to compromise the optimal growth and development of children and their families.
Mothers today initiate breastfeeding in the hospital; however, many will stop breastfeeding within a few days or weeks due to social or community pressures. A Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community is a healthier, more welcoming community for families.
“If a multinational company developed a product that was a nutritionally balanced and delicious food, a wonder drug that both prevented and treated disease, cost almost nothing to produce and could be delivered in quantities controlled by the consumers’ needs, the very announcement of their find would send their shares rocketing to the top of the stock market. The scientists who developed the product would win prizes and the wealth and influence of everyone involved would increase dramatically. Women have been producing such a miraculous substance, breastmilk, since the beginning of human existence…”— Gabrielle Palmer, in The Politics of Breastfeeding, London: Pandora Press, 1988, page 1