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Important milestones in breastfeeding history and unique facts you should know

Ashwin Dewan Ashwin Dewan 4 Mins Read

Ashwin Dewan Ashwin Dewan


In 2019, the Taj Mahal became the first Indian monument to get a breastfeeding room on the premises! Surprised? Well, here are some more fascinating facts as we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week

Infant to Toddler
Important milestones in breastfeeding history and unique facts you should know

Every year, on August 1–7, we pay homage to a nourishing and essential act associated with parenting, especially new mothers. Yes, we are talking about breastfeeding. But …

… why do we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week?

The main aim of Breastfeeding Week is to bring into focus the importance of breastfeeding and to encourage more mothers to opt for it, thereby bringing about a positive change in the health of mothers and babies all over the world.

The week is dedicated to highlighting the many benefits of breastfeeding—both to the mother and the baby. Some of the benefits include providing vital nutrition to the baby and preventing infections and protecting the mother against the risk of ovarian and breast cancers. According to a 2005 study titled, ‘Newborn temperature during skin-to-skin breastfeeding in couples having breastfeeding difficulties,’ published in the journal Birth, a mother can even regulate the temperature of her newborn during breastfeeding in skin-to-skin contact.

Breastfeeding landmarks

We bring you some historical landmarks in breastfeeding as well as some unique facts about breastfeeding and breast milk that are sure to amaze you!

1794: Germany made breastfeeding a legal requirement for all healthy women.

1892: French obstetrician Pierre Budin, a major advocate of breastfeeding, built the first clinic for nurslings (breastfeeding babies).

1909: The first ever milk bank was set up in Vienna (Austria). A milk bank collects, screens and stores human milk donated willingly by healthy mothers for other babies.

1919: In the US, milk banking began in Boston. In the same year, the International Labour Organization (ILO) stated the right of mothers to take breastfeeding breaks at work in its Maternity Protection Convention.

1956: La Leche League International, a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization, was formed by a group of seven mothers. It continues to provide support from mother to mother and encourage families to breastfeed babies with confidence.

1981: The World Health Organization (WHO) took landmark action when it voted to restrict infant formula ads that claimed milk formulas were comparable to breast milk. One significant outcome was when a large number of people started to boycott Nestlé, a major infant formula manufacturer, until the company agreed to change its marketing strategies related to infant formula in 1984.

1989: India’s first milk bank was set up at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital (Sion Hospital) in Mumbai.

2007: Breast milk stem cells were first described by researchers in Australia.

2011: Human Milk 4 Human Babies (HM4HB) Global Network, a breast milk sharing platform, was set up on Facebook.

August 6, 2011: On this day, the United States Breastfeeding Committee, which was formed in 1995, declared August as National Breastfeeding Month (NBM). To celebrate NBM, the Committee coordinates breastfeeding activities in the US to support babies and families.

2017: Australian senator Larissa Waters made history by becoming the first politician to breastfeed her baby in the country’s Parliament. An advocate of family-friendly workplaces, Waters made a strong statement by breastfeeding her 2-month-old daughter Alia.

2019: The Taj Mahal became the first Indian monument to get a breastfeeding room, thanks to the Archaeological Survey of India. Tourists can breastfeed their babies in the air-conditioned breastfeeding room, which has essentials such as a diaper-changing table, specially designed sofas, and rubber flooring.

Good to Know: 7 Facts About Breast Milk

  1. The first milk that the breasts produce after the mother gives birth is called colostrum. Rich in antioxidants and antibodies, colostrum helps build an infant’s immune system.
  2. The smell, taste and nutrient composition of breast milk constantly change to meet the needs of a growing baby.
  3. Breast milk can be of colors other than white, such as blue, yellow and even pink.
  4. It contains the right amount of nutrients a baby needs in the first six months of life.
  5. The proteins, calcium and iron present in breast milk are better absorbed and used by your baby, compared with those in infant formulas.
  6. Breast size does not affect the amount of breast milk that a mother is able to produce.
  7. Breast milk is considered a baby’s first vaccine, as it contains antibodies and other components that protect a baby from common childhood illnesses.

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