by Heidi Green
July 18, 2012
Why celebrate breastfeeding for one week when you can celebrate it for a whole month? Such seems to be the logic of the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), which has proclaimed next month to be the second annual National Breastfeeding Month.
While the theme of international breastfeeding week focuses on the WHO/UNICEF’s Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, a decade-old document that advocates a set of optimal practices to reduce malnutrition and poverty around the world, national breastfeeding month takes a different approach.
With The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding guiding its efforts, the USBC has chosen the theme “Everyone Can Help Make Breastfeeding Easier: 20 Actions in 20 Days.” USBC’s plan for celebration is based largely on Surgeon General Regina Benjamin’s document, which calls on people nationwide to take 20 specific action steps in six different areas (mothers and their families, communities, health care, employment, research and surveillance, and public health infrastructure) to remove barriers to breastfeeding. Throughout the month of August, the USBC will use social media platforms Facebook and Twitter to draw attention to each of the action steps.
Beginning Monday, August 6th and continuing through Friday, August 31st, the USBC will address one of the Surgeon General’s 20 actions. For example, day one will focus on the development of a national monitoring system (action #19), a means of tracking breastfeeding initiation and duration, as well as supportive policies. To increase awareness and share ideas that have been successful in hospitals and other organizations around the U.S., breastfeeding advocates are invited to participate in USBC-led conversations via the group’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.
If you’re keen to participate in this series of events, you’ll need to “like” the Facebook page or “follow” the Twitter page. You will then receive daily updates on the action item for that day. Although the Surgeon General’s report does number its action steps, the USBC will not be proceeding in numeric order. A calendar of which actions will be addressed each day is available on the committee’s website.
The group is currently looking to spread the word about its upcoming campaign. Want to help? Check out the sample Facebook post, Tweet, and newsletter blurb. Everyone can help make breastfeeding easier—a fact USBC is trying to make easy to share.
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