Maria Lactans

Maria Lactans
Maria Lactans (wikimedia commons)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

CNML Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week 2017

CNML Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week 2017
 by Gena Ortega


Breastfeeding is a two-way street. That seems to be an obvious statement, perhaps. Mom provides milk to child; child drinks the milk. Let’s expand our view, though. Mother sustains the child's life through her very blood, her breastmilk brimming with unique immunofactors; child's breastfeeding provides mother with protection against breast cancer, strong uterine contractions to help her recover more quickly from childbirth, and child spacing through natural suppression of the mother's fertility. We sustain each other through this beautiful, Divinely-designed mother-child relationship.

Fitting, then, that the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) selected a sustainability theme for this year's World Breastfeeding Week: Sustaining Breastfeeding Together. The sustainability theme breaks down into four categories: Nutrition/Poverty Reduction, Survival/Health and Wellbeing, Environment, and Women's Productivity. Although the WABA has a global focus, we can examine and implement this theme from our Catholic Nursing Mothers League perspective and in our own small local communities. 

Nutrition/Poverty Reduction

We provide our children the optimal nutrition, designed precisely for them at each moment of their young lives. Breastmilk contents change constantly depending on the time of day, illness, weather conditions, stress. How good our God is to design our bodies this way! This also allows our families to save money in formula, doctor sick visits. 

Action: In your own community, you can share this knowledge by offering to hold breastfeeding support groups at your local Crisis Pregnancy Center or WIC office. Help local mothers who may be struggling financially to succeed at breastfeeding.

Survival/Health and Wellbeing

Breastfeeding is the best way to reduce child mortality, plain and simple. 823,000 child deaths and 20,000 maternal deaths (from breast cancer) could be prevented by increased breastfeeding around the world. How can you help to protect the children in your area?

Action: Leave a stack of CNML business cards, natural family planning pamphlets, ecological breastfeeding information at local pediatrician offices. Make it easy for pediatricians to share this information, which may be new to their patients.


Have you seen the baby outfits that say, "Eat Local"? Breastfeeding allows us to feed our children in a way that doesn't pollute or use unnecessary packaging. It is positive for God's creation overall!

Action: Do you have a shelf of breastfeeding books whose wisdom you would love to share? Start a nursing lending library among the mothers in your CNML group or in your circle of friends to save them from having to buy books.

Women's Productivity

CNML promotes ecological breastfeeding and mom and baby staying close - especially for those first three years of life - as the ideal.  However, there may be circumstances where a woman needs to work outside the house.  Women who must return to work after having a baby may feel pressured to forgo breastfeeding and resort to formula-feeding. Women who provide breastmilk for their babies not only feel fulfilled that they can provide for their children even though they are apart during the day, but pumping and providing breastmilk can often help the mother from taking additional sick days for a child who is frequently ill.

Action: Hold evening or weekend CNML meetings so that working mothers can still participate. Are you able to pump extra milk to donate to a regional milk bank?  Donating milk is an act of self-sacrifice and a corporal work of mercy!

Let's do our part as Catholic Nursing Mothers League members to help sustain breastfeeding for the mothers and babies around us!