WABA YOUTH breastfeeding newsletter waba youth breastfeeding newsletter rumba youth newsletter
YOUth can act
WABA YOUth to make a difference!
Issue No. 1
February 2007
Welcome to YOUth-4-Breastfeeding Newsletter  

Like any successful project, a newsletter is a collection of small details that adds up to a whole greater than the sum of seemingly simple parts and carefully done has a concentrated impact and credibility unlike any other form of corporate communication.

The purpose of this newsletter is to bond all YOUth members together into a family unit and keep them informed of all planned activities, functions and useful information.

The main objectives of the WABA YOUth Initiative is to get youth interested in breastfeeding and to develop and sustain young advocates to promote and protect breastfeeding through the perspectives of human rights, reproductive health and gender equality.

Welcome to the first of many WABA YOUth-4-Breastfeeding Newsletter! You are a very important part of the initiative and if you have something you wish to share please email us at YOUth4breastfeeding@yahoogroups.com, and remember: YOUth can act to make a difference!

Hanns Pop – RUMBA Guatemala

What's New?  
  • New YOUth Brochure: What can YOUth do for breastfeeding? Much, find out more from our brochure which is just hot off the press. You may write to us to ask for a copy, or download it from our website http://www.waba.org.my/youth/brochure.pdf
  • YOUth for Breastfeeding websection: In December 2006, we inaugurated the WABA YOUth websection;
    YOUth Brochure & Websites
    it contains plenty of information about the issues we are working on, useful links, newsletters, brochures, forums, recent activities and much more. http://www.waba.org.my/youth/
  • The WABA Men’s Initiative, one of WABA’s newest initiatives to create an enabling environment where men, particularly fathers, participate actively and share responsibilities with women in optimally caring for their infants and young children, through advocacy, education and capacity building now has its own space on the web. Don’t forget to check it out. http://www.waba.org.my/men/
  • WBW 2007: The theme for World Breastfeeding Week 2007 is: "Breastfeeding: The 1st Hour – Save ONE million babies!"
  • Congratulations to Phung Bich Thuy (Women Health & Youth (WHY) International / WABA YOUth Initiative) who is going to represent the WABA Youth Initiative at the 51st Session of Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA, in February 2007. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/
YOUths around the World!  
  • In Guatemala (Central America): 1st Youth Workshop for the Promotion of Breastfeeding and Humanised Childbirth
rumba guatemala

RUMBA Guatemala’s first workshop took place on 9th December 2006, with the support of IBFAN (International Baby Food Action Network), WABA (World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action), The Birth Company and La Leche League Guatemala (LLLG). The members who supported RUMBA, as lecturers, at the event were: Melissa Pop (RUMBA Guatemala Coordinator), Mariana de Petersen (LLLG), Viana Maza, (LLLG/RUMBA) and Rae Davies (The Birth Company/WABA) on RUMBA, Breastfeeding and Humanised Childbirth.

RUMBA (Red Unida por las Madres Bebés y su Alimento / United Network for Mother’s Babies and their Nutrition) is a network integrated by a new generation of young people who educate, support and promote the culture of breastfeeding. The axis of work that RUMBA includes are education, sensitisation and promotion of breastfeeding, humanised childbirth, gender equality, sexual education and prevention of HIV/AIDS, paternity and maternity protection and rights, among others. One of the assets of RUMBA is that they are a group of young people coming from different professional fields. RUMBA also has defined objectives and clear, measurable and attainable goals, as evidenced by its many activities undertaken so far. RUMBA envisions trainings for all members in subjects like:

  • Breastfeeding;
    • Importance of breastfeeding, benefits for the mother and baby, the family and the environment.
    • Correct and incorrect positions to nurse.
    • Nutritional values of breastfeeding.
  • Mother Kangaroo Programme;
  • Importance of Natural Childbirth, and;
  • Humanised Childbirth and the International Mother-Baby Friendly Initiative (IMBFI).
guatemala rumba

Visit www.rumbalac.org and www.rumba-guatemala.tk for more info about RUMBA. Rae Davies, representative of WABA and The Birth Company, presented on humanised childbirth and the IMBFI. A total of 26 people attended this workshop and they were invited to endorse RUMBA. In the activity there were 16 affiliated persons reaffirming their commitment to participate and work in the matters that our network promotes, protects and supports. They can collaborate in the execution of RUMBA’s strategies, indicating and presenting the importance of taking action in different themes of breastfeeding, its relation with maternity-paternity rights and humanised childbirth. Every participant was given a T-Shirt and a Certificate.

There was an announcement of the event in a local FM radio. At the workshop, there was a young reporter from “El Periódico”, a national newspaper. After sensitisation though the workshop, he offered to help with the cause for next year.

That day, “El Periódico” offered an article to RUMBA, to describe the network and benefits of breastfeeding. It was published on 15th December 2006, in a special publication. The article also appeared in a magazine for young people that carries news on music, sports, fashion, social events and other topics for youth. It is a great achievement for us, as a youth network, for our news to be published, because through this promotion, we can let other people know about RUMBA and reach all the people who are interested.

During this year, more than 25 young people endorsed RUMBA in Guatemala, and they committed to work hard to accomplish the goals of RUMBA. All our activities were done with the sole objective to fulfill the commitment required and accepted by RUMBA to expand the network in all the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Nationally, we aim to get Guatemalan youths to support, promote and protect the breastfeeding culture. After the workshop we established contact with a group of women who work with native communities of women in gender based violence, discrimination by gender and gender inequality and other related issues, so that RUMBA can visit these communities and support by giving lectures and support in these matters.

No doubt that RUMBA has been fortified and expanded its horizons, since its foundation, for the life of the babies, mothers and their families. In addition, it has impact the entire world and with pride, it is possible to affirm that we are a group of people faithful to their mission and ethical principles and eager to face any challenge for the well-being of the present and future generations.

  • In Pakistan: Interaction session with youth on Breastfeeding

Blue Veins organised a one-hour interaction session with youth in the Mohammad Khan village on youth & breastfeeding. The participants of the session were student of class 9th & 10th (Ages 15-17) and were students of the Government High School. They were all young men.

YOUth Pakistan

The Session was very interesting because early child marriages are very prevalent in the area. Despite of their very young age, some of the students were already married and had children.

They were very shy to talk about breastfeeding as they considered breastfeeding as a “feminine issue” and the level of knowledge about breastfeeding was very low. They were very interested to know more about the WABA Youth Initiative and wanted to know more about the activities of youth in relation to breastfeeding. They showed a high level of interest in father support groups & requested for an out-of-school activity to inform the community about father support groups.

Youth Pakistan

The guys initially thought that they can not play any role in the breastfeeding practice because they even felt shy to talk about it with their wives. Because of the large family system, they have very little influence in decision making, even about their own lives. If they try to help their wives to breastfeed their babies, the older women (their mothers & grandmothers) and their wives will not like it, as they consider it something not suitable for their husbands to do. However, after the session, they changed their minds.
Local community elders, influential & a famous religious scholar of the area were also present in the session. They highly appreciated the idea of youth involvement in breastfeeding & father support.

The religious scholar of the area also encouraged youth to get involved and get more accurate knowledge about breastfeeding because Muslim women are encouraged by religion to breastfeed their babies, and if men can help and encourage women in this process, they will be rewarded by God Almighty. For more information, please contact Qamar Nassem (bveins@hotmail.com).

  • In Korea: New initiative started in East Asia (EABA Youth)
East Asia Meeting

On 16th December 2006, a new YOUth initiative was born, EABA Youth. (East Asia of Breastfeeding Action Youth) In this meeting, there were participants from Korea, Mongolia and China. There were presentations on the WABA Youth Initiative, RUMBA and a discussion on developing an action plan for short-term, mid-term and long-term activities for this newly born initiative. The participants were invited to complete the WABA Youth Initiative Endorsement. For more information on this initiative and how to become a part of this, please contact Min Sang-Hee (sanghee0502@yahoo.com).


  • At the WABA Secretariat in Penang, Malaysia

"The WABA’s Youth Initiative is a great opportunity where the youth can find a place to work and collaborate to improve breastfeeding protection towards families, mothers and babies’ rights. This is where the main actors are the youth. Our training on these issues is very important and absolutely necessary, if we think of the future. Having the opportunity to work with WABA for the last three months, I felt I have grown as an individual. The skills and knowledge I had gained was also important for my work at LACMAT/RUMBA and, what can I do in my region. I think it’s important for youth to continue learning and growing in our work to promote families and especially babies’ health rights." – Santiago Vallone, LACMAT/RUMBA, Argentina, who was at the WABA Secretariat in Penang, Malaysia from October 2006 till January 2007.

RUMBA Guatemala @ WABA

Hanns Pop, 21, from RUMBA (Guatemala), was working in WABA, for a little more than a month, since November 2006. Hanns worked on youth and breastfeeding projects, with the objective to get youth interested in breastfeeding issues; and to develop young advocates and involve them to protect, promote and sustain breastfeeding. “To be able to work in one of the leading organisations on the matters that you’ve been surrounded all you life, and see them in action is a wonderful experience. Everyone at the office is special. I’m really thankful for this opportunity not only to get to know another country, nor other continent, but the things that are most important, the people and the organisation. The experience so far has been very good, I been able to watch how WABA works and I tried my best to help and be useful in whatever I can. Things went really well, I can say that if the opportunity comes again I will not hesitate to come back. I’ve been involved in many projects, helping with the WABALink, brochures, websites, newsletters, and the Resource Centre. There is always something to work on. So, a special thanks to everyone at the WABA Secretariat! Kooopi Peeeeennngg!".

YOUth Think!: Article for Discussion  

This section is dedicated to stimulate your thoughts as YOUth about happenings regarding breastfeeding. The article for this newsletter issue is on the "effect of epidural on breastfeeding". We want to hear from you, your thoughts, comments, opinions, etc! We will be moderating the discussion with you and other YOUth at the YOUth-4-Breastfeeding Yahoo! Group for the next two weeks. Email your comments now!

  • Study shows that epidural during birth my negatively affect breastfeeding

Epidurals given during labour and birth are associated with decreased reates of breastfeeding, both in the short and long term. A large study of Australian women, published in the open access that women who had epidurals during childbirth were more likely to have breastfeeding problems in the first week, and to give up breastfeeding before six months, compared with women who had no analgesia.

The study by scientist from the University of Sydney and other Australian associations show that a significant correlation exists between the two practices. The authors conclude that “almost this relationship may not be casual, it is important that women at higher risk of breastfeeding cessation are provided with adequate breastfeeding assistance and support. (Source: http://www.inthenews.co.uk - December 2006)

Questions for thought:
  • Did you or your friends have such an experience?
  • Why are moms given epidurals in the first place?
YOUr Say! Personal Experiences on Breastfeeding  

In February 2006, the Latin-American and Caribbean youth initiative RUMBA -   United Network for Mother’s Babies and their Nutrition/Nourishment - collected testimonies of young mothers and their families on its knowledge and experience with breastfeeding, childbirth, work and social aspects of their lives.

RUMBA Guatemala Testimonies

Paola Quinto, from Guatemala was one of the young mothers who shared her testimony and, now she is an active member of RUMBA Guatemala and attends a La Leche League support group. Paola shared how the right information at the right time changed her and her baby’s life, with all the information provided and things learned during the sharing of her testimony.

Paola is a 21 years old architect and most important a single mom of a one-year old baby called, Santiago André, born 15th November 2005, weighing 7 pounds 9 ounces.

My experience with breastfeeding was complicated, because ignorance and acting on the wrong information” – said Paola. With the little information she had during her pregnancy, Paola took the decision of exclusively breastfeeding her baby as long as possible and needed. Even though she prepared herself with literature on several topics about breastfeeding, she never imagined that this natural process had to be learned.

When Santiago was born, the hospital staff didn’t allow Paola to breastfeed him immediately. She met his son one hour later, sleeping and already fed. She had the opportunity to breastfeed him until the next morning, but her nurse suggested that she wouldn’t be able to do it; and she recommended some “pezoneras” that later she would get. Finally, 24 hours after birth, breastfeeding started.

Before leaving the hospital, the paediatrician indicated that she shouldn’t breastfeed her baby for more that 7 minutes on each side for more than 3 hours. According to him, some studies proved that the breast drains every 7 minutes and refills in 3 hours. He also explained that if the baby wants milk before 3 hours, it was just a simple reflex, and it was necessary to create a schedule for feeding. If he wasn’t satisfied, give him some drinking water.

“I remember how my baby cried every time that I took away the breast every 7 minutes (measuring the time with a clock in my hand) and changed him to the other side” – she said 15 days later after she went for a consult. The baby’s weight dropped down a pound, yet the baby had grown, and this didn’t concern the doctor. Paola told the paediatrician that she thought she had a lot of milk and that the baby wasn’t satisfied with the amount he was receiving. Nevertheless, the doctor still recommended not doing it for more than 15 minutes.

So Paola did as told. A month later, they went for a consult again. Santiago weighed 5 pounds 11 ounces. With the weight loss the doctor was much alarmed. It was then that he instructed Paola to give Santiago 2 additional ounces of formula so that the baby would gain weight. In the following weeks, Santiago didn’t settle. With so little additional formula, he demanded as much as 8 ounces of formula and slowly he started to reject the breast.


“This rejection was horrible. He would really freak out every time I tried to breastfeed him. It was really depressing to feel this rejection from my own son,” she lamented. Then, Paola met Melissa Pop (Coordinator of RUMBA Guatemala), and Paola was introduced to RUMBA and La Leche League. When Paola was interviewed about breastfeeding, she seized the opportunity and asked what she can do to have more milk. “This was the time when I finally realised the big mistake I was making.” she said. Paola then learn the correct positioning to breastfeed, and found out about exclusive breastfeeding. Imagine: When Santiago was 2 months old, the paediatrician already approved of him eating fruits and other bottled foods, when he should be exclusively breastfed for 6 months!

When Santiago was 3 months old, Paola started to attend a support group. Paola found the support here that her family or doctor couldn’t provide. She said, “This group helped me a lot and encouraged me to keep going, because I’m able to do it. I mentioned in one opportunity to the doctor that Santiago rejected being breastfed and he told me to make an effort to give him just a little bit; but that it was totally normal.


Paola continued to attend the support group, and took baby steps; even going against her family’s advice as she intended to accomplish exclusive breastfeeding for Santiago until he was 6 months old. She completely removed the bottle when he was 10-months old.  “It was hard. Because at home, it appeared as if I didn’t want to properly feed Santiago, but there isn’t anything more important than my baby’s health and nutrition. So I made an effort.” added Paola.

Now days, Santiago eats perfectly and in big quantities, all types of natural foods. He is very healthy, and best of all is that he asks for breastmilk several times a day. “It was a long process. However, in one year, he has never been really sick; just the flu caused by severed weather changes. Santiago and I have a very close relationship, we spent almost 24 hours together. And as time goes by, he’s becoming more independent and manages to stay without me for longer periods of time.” said Paola.

 “RUMBA to me, as project that is really worthy. The lack of valuable information resulted in bad health for my son. I want to have the opportunity to help young mothers so they don’t go through the same things I did. I think there is nothing better that breastmilk and the relationship between mother and baby is a priority in family life. This helps to make healthier adults with better and happier lives.” Paola concluded.

Events (February - July 2007)
4-6 Feb

Inter. AIDS Conf. 2007, Varanasi, India “Strategies & Challenges for AIDS Mgmt” www.aidsindia2007.org

4-8 Feb Inter. Conf. on Actions to Strengthen Linkages between SRH & HIV/AIDS, Mumbai, India
14 Feb WABA's 16th Anniversary
23-25 Feb 2nd Indian People's Health Assembly, Bhopal, India
25 Feb - 10 Mar Breastfeeding: Advocacy & Practice, A Regional Outreach Course, Penang, Malaysia
26 Feb - 2 Mar 34th SCN Annual Session, Rome, Italy
27 Feb Wellstart's 22nd Anniversary
26 Feb – 9 Mar 51st Session of CSW, New York, USA
7-11 Mar CIMS Forum, Atlanta, USA
8 Mar International Women’s Day – “Ending impunity for violence against women”
7 Apr World Health Day – “Health and Security: Outbreaks and Crises"
7-13 May World Respected Childbirth Week 2007: Respected Childbirth www.smar.info
15-18 May World Forum on Early Care & Education, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia www.worldforumfoundation.org/wf/wf2007
20 May National Breastfeeding Day (China)
21 May 26th Anniversary of the Code
23-27 May

2007 CIVICUS World Assembly (9th) “Acting Together for a Just World” – Accountability: Delivering Results, Glasgow, Scotland

5 June World Environment Day – “Melting Ice, a hot topic?”
5-8 June South African AIDS Conference, Durban, South Africa
4-7 July World YWCA’s International Women’s Summit (HIV), Nairobi Kenya
20-23 July

LLLI’s 50th anniversary, “Celebrating the Power of Breastfeeding” Chicago, USA

22-25 July

4th International AIDS Society Conf. on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2007), Sydney (www.ias2007.org), Australia
Bringing Together the World of HIV Science to Address the Challenges of Research, Prevention and Treatment”

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The opinions and information expressed in the articles of this issue do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of WABA, the Youth Working Group and the Newsletter Editors. For further information or topic discussion, please email us.
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network of individuals and organisations concerned with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide based on the Innocenti Declarations, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future and the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. Its core partners are International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), La Leche League International (LLLI), International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), Wellstart International and Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM). WABA is in consultative status with UNICEF and an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).

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YOUth can act to make a difference! WABA YOUth-4-Breastfeeding WABA YOUTH -4- Breastfeeding Newsletter
  WABA, PO Box 1200, 10850 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 604-658 4816 Fax: 604-657 2655
E-mail: waba@waba.org.my
Website: www.waba.org.my