Last Week was World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). This special time is celebrated across the globe every year from August 1-7 to support and increase awareness of breastfeeding. WBW commemorates the Innocenti Declaration, signed in August 1990, by government policymakers, the World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF to promote and protect this important first food. Breastfeeding is a human right; it saves lives; and it helps communities. However, there is very little in the way of children’s books on this important topic.
I first noticed this deficiency while I was working as an elementary school librarian. Newly married, my husband and I were considering beginning a family. I was thinking through all the choices mothers have when it comes to childrearing. My mother had breastfed my sister, my brother, and me, and she always talked about it being a lovely experience. It was surprising to me that the picture books I could find, showing mothers feeding their babies, displayed only bottle-feeding.
When I gave birth to my first child and began nursing him, I enjoyed the closeness. Breastfeeding helped us develop a beautiful bond, and I soon discovered that exclusive breastfeeding had many additional benefits:
- Financial savings
- Postpartum weight loss
- Delayed menstruation
- Disease prevention (Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.)
- DHA and immune boosting antibodies for baby
- Pleasant-smelling diapers (Let’s face it, the poop of breastfed babies doesn’t stink!)
Why wasn’t there more literature out there for children about this miracle fluid?
If I, as a young mother, craved a book to share with my child about the beauty of breastfeeding, there must be other nursing mothers who felt the same way.
Community members and employers can play a significant role in helping to normalize breastfeeding. Through a diverse collection, libraries can help expose children to the universal nature and beauty of the act. Why not celebrate World Breastfeeding Week by increasing your library’s inventory of nursing books? You never know… you may even save lives.
Suggested Books for Libraries
- Babies Nurse / Así se alimentan los bebés by Phoebe Fox
- Cuddled and Carried / Consentido y cargado by Dia Michels
- Best Milk by Kate Carothers
- Mama’s Leche by Michelle Hackney and Mia Ortiz
- You, Me, and the Breast by Monica Calaf
- What Does Baby Want? by Tupera Tupera
- Who in the World Likes to Nurse by Cristie Henry
- Mama’s Milk / Mamá me alimenta by Michael Elsohn Ross
- A Nursing Love Poem by Michelle Neyland
Books for Older Children:
- If My Mom Were a Platypus: Mammal Babies and Their Mothers by Dia Michels
- The Best Gifts by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
What other books would you recommend on this topic?
Our guest blogger today is Phoebe Fox. Phoebe is an elementary school librarian, children’s book author, and host of “Storytime Saturdays” on YouTube. When her oldest son was a toddler she began work on a rhyming picture book about breastfeeding, which ultimately became the book Babies Nurse. She lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband and three sons. Visit her at www.mamafoxbooks.com or on Facebook and Instagram @mamafoxbooks.
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