My twin children Adam and Sara were born prematurely at 30 weeks with complications. For the first few months of their lives, I could only love them through the cold glass panes of an incubator. I have never felt so helpless.
The doctors encouraged me to pump and bring in my milk. Every 2 hours, I would either be in the nursing room, pumping away, or sitting by their incubator encouraging them to drink through their feeding tube. I wasn't yet allowed to breastfeed as they were too small and sickly.

The antibiotics and vitamins helped of course, but it was the mama milk that cured them, I'm sure of it. My milk provided an endless supply of antibodies and the right combination of fat, carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Most importantly, it was made of pure love. 

Day by day I watched them grow bigger and stronger. Finally, once they reached a healthy weight, we could bring them home. I could finally show them my full potential as a mother.
Read the full story here

Hello all,
I hope you like our new newsletter. We have revised it to inform, interest and inspire you in your work as breastfeeding advocates.
We hope that you will remain keenly involved in WABA and our work. We’d like to hear from you more often, so please send us your thoughts, opinions, and questions via email, Facebook or Twitter.
The second half of 2015 will prove to be a busy and exciting time. Do see our “Stay Updated” section on what is to come in August, and look out for exciting events and news in next month’s WABALink!

Have a good July!

Jay Sharma
Executive Director

WABA will be holding the Breastfeeding Advocacy and Practice (BAP) course in Penang from 18th – 31st October 2015.

WABA, in collaboration with UNICEF’s East Asia and Pacific office, is offering four BAP course scholarships to participants! Please contact Pei Ching (WABA) or Christiane Rudert (UNICEF) for more information on applications for the scholarships.

WABA attended the first partner meeting of the Global Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative (GBAI) in New York from 29-30th April 2015. This initiative formed by UNICEF and WHO together with a range of other partners aims to increase the political commitment to and investment for breastfeeding as the cornerstone of child nutrition, health and development. 

WABA believes that this is an important and exciting opportunity to put breastfeeding back on the global agenda and engage with a wide range of partners involved to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
Read more here

WABA is proud of the dedication, voluteerism and hard work of our Mother Support Task Force (MSTF). In their latest newsletter, they presented useful information and compelling stories from Pakistan to Paraguay, connecting the local to the global and the personal to the political! The newsletter is also available in Spanish.

Health video

When we educate a mother, we educate a village.” - Nand Wadhwani, founder of IAP HealthPhone, Founding Trustee of The Mother and Child Health and Education Trust, a tireless health advocate and a member of the WABA International Advisory Council.

It is estimated that 10 million girls and young women in India will now be able to learn how to protect themselves and their children against malnutrition thanks to a new program – the IAP HealthPhone™ - which will send hundreds of millions of text messages directly to the phones of women and girls with links to short educational videos from the popular “Poshan” series starring Aamir Khan.

This three-year initiative, the largest of its kind in the world, is a public-private partnership involving the Indian Academy of Pediatrics, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, UNICEF, Aamir Khan, Vodafone and The Mother and Child Health and Education Trust. The videos are sponsored by the Government of India and UNICEF and are available in 18 different languages.

With the imminent release of the ambitious new Sustainable Development Goals to end child malnutrition and preventable child deaths by 2030, new approaches to reducing malnutrition are desperately needed, especially in India which is home to 40% of the world’s malnourished women and children.

With mobile phone users in India forecast to rise to more than 730 million by 2017, reaching women with basic health education through their mobile phones may well be the most transformative development solution available. For example, if education through phones could persuade more Indian women to breastfeed, the deaths of up to 170,000 children could potentially be prevented.

“Life as a mother to a young baby in this situation in just unbearable”
– Natalie, an ActionAid volunteer reports from Nepal.

On April 25, when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, it also shook the lives of at least 8 million people. By May 8, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that: 
  • 70,000 children (6 to 59 months old) with moderate acute malnutrition require supplementary food and approximately 15,000 children (6 to 59 months old) with severe acute malnutrition require therapeutic feeding
  • 168,000 mother of children (0 to 23 months old) require breastfeeding support

Breastfeeding provides ideal nutrition for infants and contributes to their healthy growth and development. In emergency situations, the aim should be to create and sustain an environment that supports and encourages breastfeeding.

Unfortunately, water scarcity, stress/trauma, issues of having to breastfeeding in public, the uncontrolled influx of formula milk, as well as having to maintain her own health may affect a mother’s ability to breastfeed successfully.

As part of emergency preparedness, health workers and volunteers should be trained to help mothers establish and continue breastfeeding and overcome difficulties in emergency situations. UNICEF reports that despite the odds, some of the countries that have shown the largest increases in breastfeeding rates are those that have experienced humanitarian emergencies! So let's work together to support breastfeeding mothers in emergencies!

Read more here
PETRONAS Chemicals, a Malaysian energy company, has taken a major step to empower their female employees to continue breastfeeding their children while at work.

In September 2014, PETRONAS Terengganu created a fully-equipped breastfeeding room for nursing mothers / female employees – including sofas, refrigerators and changing stations. This room is situated at the heart of the building, creating maximum comfort and convenience for working mums. Other PETRONAS offices across Malaysia have followed suit, with breastfeeding rooms in a variety of different sizes and equipped with different facilities.

In relation to other Maternity Protection recommendations, PETRONAS also provides 2 months maternity leave, and offers 1 month optional (half paid leave) for their employees.

So what’s a Superdad? It’s a dad who plays his important part in family life. And yes, that includes being involved in taking care of children, sharing the housework and not being afraid to love! WABA celebrated Father’s Day with a fun Superdad graphic! Thank you for all your positive comments, we’re glad you liked it!

WABA YOUth is making waves in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. RUMBA, in collaboration with CEFEMINA and WABA YOUth, produced a video on the subject of Maternity Protection – in line with this year’s celebration of World Breastfeeding Week 2015.  

Here is what Monica Tesone - psychologist at La Leche League International – has to say on the importance of Maternity Protection and methods of promoting this in your country. It’s in Spanish, so Spanish-speakers, please convey this message of empowerment to your friends!


This video has been shared with national contacts in 22 countries in the LAC region, on the RUMBA Facebook page, on YouTube, and with national organisers of World Breastfeeding Week 2015.
Around 80% of the world’s men will become fathers in their lifetime, and virtually all men have at least some connection to children in caregiving relationships. Yet, engaging men in caregiving is only just beginning to find its way onto the global gender equality agenda.

In June 2015, MenCare, a global fatherhood campaign, launched the first-ever report on the State of the World’s Fathers, providing a global view of the state of men’s contribution to parenting and caregiving around the world.

The struggle for gender equality demands social transformation. This in turn requires us to understand and tackle power relationships in the home and a rebalancing of the burden of work, both paid and unpaid. To this end, this report is a bold and important contribution.
The long awaited protocol revision on Contraception and Breastfeeding by Drs. Pamela Berens and Miriam Labbok is now out! This revision on a crucial topic has useful information for those counselling mothers regarding contraceptive choices, based on vital and formal feedback from expert board members and reviewers. Yet, the bottom line remains: hormonal contraceptive methods may affect a mother’s milk supply.

Breastfeeding advocates, share it with your colleagues and leave a copy at a work station! Read the full revision here.
The 4th Edition of Wellstart’s Lactation Management Self-Study Modules (Level 1) was published in 2014. Level 1 was developed with the aim to enable all health professionals to provide care for breastfeeding mothers and infants, by providing them with knowledge and skills during their initial preparatory (preservice) program. This module has been revised and updated to incorporate important and new evidenced-based knowledge and skills.

This educational tool is available to be downloaded for free!

Tigers is now screening! This outstanding new film by Danis Tanovic is based on the true story of a former Nestle Pakistan salesman - Syed Aamir Raza - who took on the baby milk industry with the help of IBFAN! Programme notes from the world premiere has got us excited:

“Devastated when he discovers the effects of the infant formula he’s peddling, a young salesman challenges the system and the powers that be, in this based-on-fact drama from Academy Award-winning director Danis Tanovic (No Man’s Land).

In a neat piece of narrative structuring on Tanovic’s part, this David-and-Goliath story is told partially through the eyes of a film crew making a documentary on Ayan’s (Syad Aamir's) astonishing findings.”

One character in the film embodies IBFANers who helped Syed Aamir, including Tracey Wagner-Rizvi, Andreas Adelberger and Baby Milk Action’s Patti Rundall and Mike Brady. Look out for screenings near you!


New from LLLI, Sweet Sleep is the first and most complete book on nights and naps for breastfeeding families.  It’s mother-wisdom, reassurance, and a how-to guide for making sane and safe decisions on how and where your family sleeps, backed by the latest research.

This is so important as it helps parents, mother especially, in making the safest sleep decisions for their family and their life! Order this book online here 
We wish ILCA a happy 30th Anniversary!

ILCA is organising ILCA15, an international conference held this year in Washington, from 22-25 July.


This conference aims to discuss and disseminate latest information on human lactation and breastfeeding, research findings, methods of breastfeeding and other ways to support a breastfeeding mother. Speakers lined up for this year’s conference includes top thinkers and innovators from around the world. Find more information on the event here and join the #ilca15 movement on Twitter!
Past (June)

June proved to be an exceptionally busy and significantly important month!

WABA had a successful week-long Steering Committee (SC) meeting. The SC and staff worked with our advocacy/networking consultant, Richard Bennett, considering feedback from interviews, and exploring options for improving WABA, to better reflect the wider breastfeeding movement and to be more responsive to emerging challenges.
We were pleased to receive officers from SIDA, our principal funders. Over two intense days, we discussed a wide range of issues ranging from the history of the project and SIDA’s support, to detailed matters of finance and management.
Finally, WABA announced Election results to the SC. Welcome back, Anne Batterjee and welcome Maryse Arendt! We look forward to working with you. Thank you to all those who took part either as candidates or as voters. We are very pleased to receive positive comments and words of congratulations on the professional way the elections were conducted.
                          Anne Batterjee (Global)           Maryse Arendt (Europe)
Present (July)

World Breastfeeding Week is just round the corner! So this month, we’re busy preparing for this wonderful event. Do check out our downloadable materials here.

What are you planning for this year to celebrate your work on the theme of Women and Work? Do use this diagram to help plan what YOU can do (in blue boxes) and how you can involve and engage WABA in your efforts (purple boxes):

Future (August)

Two big events are coming up in August so let’s start working towards them now!

World Breastfeeding Week, 1-7 August
This year, WABA calls for concerted global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work. Whether a woman is working in the formal, non-formal or home setting, it is necessary that she is empowered in claiming her and her baby’s right to breastfeed.

International Youth Day - 12 August
The International Youth Day 2015 campaign aims at promoting civic engagement and participation of youth in politics and public life, so that young people can be empowered and bring a full contribution to society, development and peace.  You can be part of these efforts!

Watch this space for WABA’s statement and announcement of our activities!
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