Photograph: Save The Children
Is this a Save The Children campaign I support?
I’ve thought long and hard about drafting this post. Mainly because the opener by Save The Children on its blogger kit reads:
“No-one forgets the first hour of their baby’s life: the excitement, the happiness and the nerves.”
I will never forget the first hour of my daughter’s life. But there was no excitement, the skin-to-skin contact deemed so vital was fleeting, seconds at most. She certainly went nowhere near my breasts. Truth be told, I spent the first hour of Ma Puce’s life praying that she would survive through it. I didn’t get to breastfeed her until she was several days old.
So, when I read or hear slogans such as ‘The Power of the first hour” and “Breast is best” my natural reaction is to flip the bird in the direction whence they came and then go off and nurse the wound they’ve reopened in my heart.
But once I read more about Save The Children’s Power Of The First Hour: Breastfeeding Saves Lives initiative, which is the latest stage of its No Child Born To Die campaign, I couldn’t turn a blind eye.
The power of the first hour: breastfeeding saves lives. Fact.
Whilst I am a firm believer that women should not be made to feel either bad or like failures because they weren’t able to, or didn’t want to breastfeed their babies, I wholeheartedly agree that Save The Children’s breastfeeding saves lives message needs to be heard and re-told and that its Power Of The First Hour needs to be supported.
Why? Because millions of mums in the poorest countries around the world often don’t have access to healthcare professionals who can give them the support, advice and medical care they desperately need when they’ve just had a baby. This leaves both mothers and babies vulnerable.
Vulnerable not only to the darker side of nature stealing away their health and their lives, but to the darker side of the corporate world, taking advantage of them to make a quick buck; there is strong evidence that some breast milk substitute manufacturers have made potentially misleading claims when advertising their products.
Combined with other cultural factors, mothers in some of the poorest countries are fed misinformation about what is best for their babies, particularly in the first crucial hour. Some are being told that breast milk is bad for their baby. Many are feeding their precious new born babies with unsterile bottles.
Help Save The Children save the lives of 830,000 babies a year
Save The Children estimate that their campaign- our campaign – could help save the lives of 830,000 babies a year. The main crux of the campaign is to sign a petition demanding that the corporate giants who peddle breast milk substitute formulas to these women by using dubious marketing messaging stop what they are doing and put children first.
You can read more about this woeful state of affairs in Save The Children’s report Superfood for Babies.
Of course donations are always welcomed by Save The Children. If you donate in the name of The Power Of The First Hour: Breastfeeding Saves Lives your money will contribute to blankets, midwife-training and life-saving antibiotics, some of the things that can make all the difference in the first hour of a new born baby’s life.
And then, for all you fellow bloggers and social media users, here’s what you can do with the power of the written word:
Spread the word about this campaign. Follow @savechildrenuk on Twitter, and like their page on Facebook. Use the hashtag #firsthour to share links and posts on the campaign or use this bloggers toolkit to write your own post.