Cultivating a peaceful family: 5 effective ways to tend to one’s inner harmony

logo that hopefully doesnt change colorThere’s that saying you’ve probably heard — “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I first saw it, framed, in the kitchen of my high school friend and it made me slightly afraid of her mom. It seemed like it had been hung there as a warning.

But parents, let’s be honest: We wake up a little sleep deprived from a late-night session catching up on a project, and the tension during breakfast is going to be thick.

On such mornings, I recognize this possibility looming in our kitchen when I notice how my daughter is looking at me. Just the other day, I caught that look and said with spatula in hand, “OK, yeah, I admit that I am too tired to be reliably nice this morning. Sorry in advance.”

“Breathe, Mama,” she reminds me, “I won’t fight today when you braid my hair.”

Here’s the thing: Our children are keenly tuned in to us. They know very well how to read the signs that serve as the early warning system indicating the likelihood of an impending mom-meltdown. Over time, they have become skilled at rating the level of threat like rangers adjusting those Smokey the Bear fire danger signs in the national forests: “Today’s Mom-fire threat level is Green.” (Whew, we’re OK.)

Your Brain on Stress

Researchers in the field of neuroscience are making exciting discoveries these days about the ways the body and mind are intimately connected. This gives us more insight into how it is that what we think and what thoughts we rehearse over and over actually change our brains. As our biochemistry is so changed, this has the power to affect the expression of our genes.

These findings also give us insight to why it is that when stress starts generating pressure and heat inside of us, our best intentions get vaporized.

The physiological responses that kept our ancestors safe do not help us in modern situations when we are not required to jump out of the way of a charging animal. What we perceive today as the danger that switches on our stress response is much different. Nonetheless, the nervous system still responds by shutting off the thinking and planning part of the brain — the prefrontal cortex — in order to send blood to the body so we can fight or run away.

But that is not a helpful response when it’s getting late in the morning and someone whines about losing their shoe or the garbage truck is blocking the driveway. While it might sharpen our reflexes so that we can deftly speed through traffic to get the kids to school, it is likely why the road rage happens since the part of our brains that inhibit undignified behavior is offline. (“Mom, you said a bad word to that guy!”)

Stress makes it more likely we will yell at our kids in spite of our best intentions to be the Zen-Mommy who guides her children serenely through the morning routine as if her mind is naturally infused with calming lavender essential oil. No parent wants to be the source of stress or bad times in the family, no matter how much responsibility, worry, or fatigue we are grappling with. But the truth is: When we get triggered, it affects our children. When that happens, we feel regret and add a black mark to our list of our failures.

harmony-balanceCreating Stress Resilience

What if there is a way to naturally achieve resilience to stress and to be easily able to access our inner resources? The good news is, it is not that hard to achieve the Sugar Land Integrated Counseling and Wellness teaches you how to take steps to give your inner life the attention required. Your family life will improve in delicious ways if you do.

We show up to the parenting journey carrying the baggage of our own histories: the fears, traumas, limiting beliefs, self-doubt, and those less-than-elegant, knee-jerk reaction tendencies. When the time comes to settle down, we unpack all that and then go about our business of creating a family.

If physical clutter in the home produces stress, how about all the emotional clutter of past regrets, hurts, sorrows, and traumas that we stuffed into the overfilled drawers of our minds? Imagine what a relief it would be to have the inner spaciousness that would allow us to breathe before we speak, or to listen mindfully so we can perceive the heart of the matter instead of reacting to what triggers us.

Fortunately, there are now several highly effective self-help techniques that are great tools to eliminate the internal clutter and create more emotional freedom and space, including these 5 effective ways to tend to one’s inner harmony for a happier home:

  1. Meditation — Research is finally catching up to the wisdom traditions that have long known the value of sitting quietly. Owing to the brain’s capacity to form new neural pathways, called neuroplasticity, scientists have found measurable differences in the brains of meditators. Higher brain functioning in the prefrontal cortex is enhanced, cortical tissue is made thicker — that’s really good — and parts of the brain that engender calm also become larger and more active. The good news for busy people is that according to the research, it is better to practice just a little each day versus half an hour every once in a while. Even taking just 1 minute every day to calm your physiology by taking mindful, slow breaths is going to help you. A dedicated meditation practice has the power to help you release burdens and create real calm.
  2. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT) — Also known as Meridian Tapping, EFT is a form of counseling intervention. It is a powerful way you can dramatically reduce your suffering quickly. It consists of tapping with your fingers on specific acupuncture points on the head and torso. Research has shown that EFT causes lasting improvements by alleviating trauma physiology. Tapping has even been shown to cause immediate changes to blood chemistry, which is truly remarkable.  There are many resources on line to help you learn how to do EFT. TAT also engages the energy system of the body to release strong feelings, negative beliefs, and trauma. Unlike EFT, TAT does not require you to talk about what is bothering you.
  3. Yoga — It’s not just exercise. According to trauma researcher Bessel Van der Kolk, PhD, when practiced regularly, yoga can profoundly help heal trauma and stress, especially when practiced along with mindfulness meditation.
  4. The Forgiveness Challenge/Opportunity — Psychologist Jack Kornfield, PhD, describes how, when he was training to become a Buddhist monk, his teacher gave him the practice of spending 5 minutes forgiving someone, 2 times a day for 6 months. In my experience, this has been helpful to effectively get through all the emotions that an episode of forgiving requires. This powerful practice liberates one from the need to keep inventory of past betrayals and disappointments.

When we do the inner work of unburdening ourselves, we can show up for our families in a whole new way with more resilience to face the traffic and noise of daily life and better able to “be the peace” that makes home a safe haven where our children can thrive.

How different the world could be

logo that hopefully doesnt change colorEditor’s Note:  This post was originally published on 12/4/2015. As we continue to celebrate AP Month with this year’s theme, “Nurturing Peace: Parenting for World Harmony,” this article highlights the significance and magnitude of the choices we hold as parents — in the face of darkness, we can choose light and peace for our children and, with that, change the world.


“We’ve all got both light and dark inside of us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

~ J.K. Rowling in her book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

San Bernardino, Paris, Chattanooga, Tunisia, Fort Hood, Lafayette, Kuwait, Colorado Springs — this short list is just a fraction of the mass shootings and terrorist activities that have occurred this year in the United States and around the world, not to mention the last few years. It is mind boggling, heart breaking and troubling to me as a parent whose goal is to raise compassionate, peaceful children. How am I suppose to do that exactly?

I try to shield my children from media splashed with coverage of these horrific events, but they hear about it anyway from conversations at school, church or the grocery store. Their school holds drills to practice in the case of a shooter. Our church prays for peace. We hear glimpses of the attacks on the radio in between songs. My daughters ask me why people are violent toward other people. My son asks me where the bad guys in the world live, so he can avoid living there when he grows up.

swirls-1170623I want to retain their deep compassion for people, even those who seem impossible to understand or love, so I talk about how there there are no “bad guys.”

We all have the choice to make good or bad decisions, and the people who do these violent acts are making choices not based on love and compassion. These people may have grown up learning poor coping skills, or they may feel lost and confused and unloved themselves, or they may be involved with a group whose beliefs are very different than ours in how we live together and resolve conflict. It doesn’t make them “bad,” though they have definitely made poor choices.

But I struggle with that reasoning inside. It’s so easy, so natural, for humans to blame. It helps us make sense of the senseless, to find closure in hard situations. I want to blame something other than “poor coping skills.” But I also know that blaming a person or a society or religious beliefs wouldn’t satisfy me, either. I have found, through my own experience, that blame can be used to keep a person from seeing the big picture. When we blame, we are reclassifying a person or belief as “bad” — in our minds — and therefore someone or something that is outside of our need to feel compassion for. We can then more easily justify our anger.

To clarify, anger isn’t “bad.” Anger can be very useful in that we know what needs to be addressed in a relationship, what crosses that boundary in our personal comfort level. But it is very possible, with unchecked anger, to be destructive toward ourselves and others. It’s an important skill to learn ourselves and teach our children to manage anger so that our thoughts, words and actions are constructive and helpful in resolution. We turn the anger — and “need” to blame — that we feel toward perpetrators of these violent incidents into a desire to find real solutions, to comfort those who grieve, to rally with others in movements toward peace.

So, it’s not enough for me — as a parent — to explain to my children that some people just make poor life choices. I want to gather with others to find ways to prevent these acts of violence. And that looks different to different people, but for me, I think all the more of API. As cliche as it may sound, I truly feel that world peace is attainable, and I feel that parenting is a major key in preventing violence.

john bowlby with richard bowlbyAccording to API Advisory Board member Sir Richard Bowlby, Bt, his father — the late John Bowlby, the father of Attachment Theory — had said that “attachment” is the scientific word for “love.”

Peace and joy are inherent in real love, and what is more pure than that? API is all about supporting parents worldwide in parenting with love, which is the most basic definition of Attachment Parenting. And if all children had the opportunity to grow up in a home focused entirely on love and peace, how different the world could be.

In reference to the Harry Potter quote above, I choose the light.


**Small photo (above) of Richard, as a toddler, playing with his father, Dr. John Bowlby, the researcher who developed Attachment Theory

*Large stock photo source

Modeling empathy to promote peace

logo that hopefully doesnt change colorI believe empathy is one of the most important aspects in promoting peace.  Children who are taught to be empathetic and who witness empathy will, in turn, show more empathy to others.

I attempt to teach empathy to my children through positive discipline, responding sensitively to their needs and emotions, and being present for them. I do my best to create a safe space for their emotions and to be a model of peaceful interactions with others.

Nowadays in my family, modeling empathy often occurs when helping my 4-year-old son wait while his sister has the toy he wants. I empathize with his emotions of frustration while also explaining that she would be sad if he took the toy from her.

When my 2-year-old daughter pouts, “I wasn’t ready to go to bed,” I choose to show her compassion. I acknowledge that she’s sad and say something like, “I know it’s hard to stop playing and go to bed, especially when your brothers are still awake, but now it’s time for us to cuddle together, and I’ll sing to you.”

With my 6-year-old son, we talk about how his strong emotions like anger are OK but that we need to work together to find appropriate outlets for those feelings.

Mommy Daddy Child BeachBeing sensitive to my children’s emotions works in helping them have more peaceful interactions with others. When my oldest son was 2, I remember hearing him putting his stuffed animals to sleep, speaking very gently to them and being present with them as I was with him. Now, at age 6, I see him express concerns for others when they get injured. Even my youngest child, only 2, will ask if I’m OK when I get hurt.

For my children today, opportunities for empathy happen most often in interactions with classmates, neighbors, and each other. But someday when they’re grown, I believe it will translate into their relationships with coworkers, spouses, their own children, and others they encounter in their lives. This is how practicing Attachment Parenting and being sensitive, responsive, and empathetic to our children can help create peace outside of the family and in the greater community.

The key to world peace and harmony

logo that hopefully doesnt change colorWhat is the key to promoting peace and harmony in our world?

In view of all the recent unrest and violence in our country and around the world, it’s a timely and imperative question.

It’s a question I often reflect on. As the mother of two young children, I’ve come to the realization that my role as a parent is not merely to raise my kids to be healthy, happy and successful adults — it’s much bigger than that: it is to raise kids who one day will become adult members of our society. My children and your children will one day become husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, neighbors, teachers, leaders, and lawmakers. With that realization, I feel an immense sense of responsibility.

I believe parenting practices — what parents model as an acceptable and appropriate behavior — has great consequences and implications that cascade beyond the home.

Let’s think about what it means for our children and how it shapes them when:

…a caregiver hits or spanks a child in response to a conflict or unwanted behavior. What messages is the child receiving in regards to managing anger, conflict resolution, and inflicting pain — both physical and emotional — on another being?

…we sleep-train a child — letting them cry themselves to sleep, ignoring their natural need to be soothed and comforted. How may it impact a sibling who is observing Mommy or Daddy not attending to the distressed young child? He may be learning it is acceptable to dismiss one’s need for soothing and compassion.

…the parent-child relationship is based on mutual respect, trust, and collaboration rather than control, manipulation, and fear. How does teaching collaboration and navigating together to reach resolutions prepare a child for future relationships? What does a child learn about handling disagreements when the parent is in the role of the unquestionable authority figure, as in “because I said so!” or “because I’m the boss!”?

…a child joins his mom as a volunteer at a soup kitchen to help others who are less fortunate, or he witnesses his dad stopping at the side of the road to help a stranded stranger.

It means that when we show empathy, we teach empathy; and when we show compassion, we teach compassion.

The child who has been nurtured with empathy and compassion is the child and adult who will extend his hand to another person, not swing his hand. He will be the one who lifts others, not belittles. He will grow to be the adult in society who promotes peace and harmony, not discord, because these are the values and tools imparted in him by his first and most significant role models: his parents.

Echoing in my mind is an incident that took place a few months ago: I clumsily hit the blow dryer against my left eyebrow bone. The sharp pain was agonizing. I clutched my bruise and knelt down to the floor uttering a few groans. My 8-year-old son was nearby. He came over, knelt down, and gently moved my hands and kissed my bruise. “Is it better now, Mommy?” he asked. While trying to hold back my groans, I replied: “A little. Thanks, my love.” He gave me a hug, then inspected the bruise, and said: “Maybe you can do some Reiki on it later.” I was in awe. My eyes were moist — no longer from the pain, but from experiencing the sensitivity and compassion he displayed: He sensed my pain and responded to it with tender sincerity.

In that moment, I was awash with joy and pride, and I thought, this is the kind of adult I aspire to release to this world: one that possesses empathy and compassion for others.

In that ordinary yet profound moment, I appreciated that all of the patience, compassion, responding with sensitivity, and positive discipline I have practiced raising my children. It all paid off in an extraordinary way.

The path to promoting peace and harmony may be simpler and more fundamental than we perceive it to be. It can be more effectively accomplished with the action of planting the seeds, rather than trimming the trees.

heart-and-keyParents, we are the key: Peace and harmony start with us! 

We are the peacemakers and peacebreakers of the world. If we want a more peaceful world for our children and the next generations, we ought to exemplify one for them. If as parents, we model sensitivity, empathy and harmony, our children will carry themselves through life, and react in the same manner when they encounter conflicts and adversities — for these are the tools we have been giving them.

Let’s plant those seeds and watch them grow and spread — one family, one community, one country at a time.

What is going on behind closed doors?

logo that hopefully doesnt change colorWe, as a society, have to change the way we live.

It’s just that simple, and just that hard.

We are shocked nearly every day by news of another seemingly senseless, violent act. We have names for the big ones — Columbine, Sandy Hook, Omaha mall shooting, Dallas — helping us remember the victims and helping us process the overwhelm of confusion, sadness, anger, and the inexplicable that we felt when we found out. It’s getting harder to name these shootings, stabbings, even bombings — there’s just too many of them, happening too frequently, and worse of all, it’s becoming almost commonplace to hear about them. We are desensitizing.

Except for in war, or in other chronically unsettled parts of the world, there seemed to be a long period of time when we just didn’t hear of these types of events happening to Americans. Perhaps there were more acts of violence in schools, workplaces, and communities before Columbine in 1999 and the news at the time just didn’t pick up on them?

But I have a different theory. Our culture has changed. Society is far less accepting of violent tendencies. We are appalled to hear stories of domestic violence in homes, and rightly so. No one deserves to live in an unsafe home. We all have dignity, and women should be treated as equals to men. We are working toward more nurturing relationships and positive discipline toward our children. Fewer teachers are allowed to harshly treat students that frustrate them. Overall, we cannot go around instilling fear in one another as an every day part of life. As it should be.

Except that while there are these widespread expectations to treat one another with respect, there has been less available instruction in how to do that. There is so much more support today for parents, teachers, couples, employers, and others traditionally in positions of authority in relationships. And we, as a society, are finding ways to transcend the existing gaps at a rapid pace, with such ideas as mindfulness in schools rather than issuing detention and offering free positive discipline education at local API Support Groups.

But there was a gap of widespread support that spanned at least 1 generation. From the time when the Columbine school shooting rocketed through the news, to now when cry-it-out sleep training is being openly debated rather than just merely accepted as the norm — reflecting the huge change we, as a culture, are having on the idea of relationship — there was 1 or 2 generations of individuals who were transitioning from the “old” way of relating — hierarchical and fear-based authority — to this “new” way: collaborative, emotionally literate, and focused on problem-solving. That’s a big leap from the old to the new way, and all leaps need support to bridge the gap.

We are steadily closing that gap. Nurturing parenting and related practices — like mindfulness, emotion coaching, collaborative work environments, healthy conflict resolution, nonviolent communication, overall questioning the status quo — are coming from all directions, not only from Attachment Parenting International (API) but also schools, workplaces, health care providers, community leaders, and other major sectors of society. We’re getting ideas we can put into practice at work, home, on the road, and even in the grocery store about how we can relate to one another better and resolve disagreements peacefully. This idea of living together as a nurturing community is becoming holistic.

But still we hear of these awful incidents of kids killing kids, coworkers killing coworkers, strangers killing strangers. If we thought Columbine was confusing, what do we think now as our cultural acceptance of nurturing and peaceful conflict resolution is taking hold. If this doesn’t work, what will?

We then go on to blame the news media, access to guns, leniency in sentencing, racism, politics, mental illness, and so on. The truth is, these big problem areas — like violence in society — are much bigger than a single factor, or even a few factors. It is difficult to unravel the causes, because the factors that contribute to each one seem different and ever-shifting.

The undertone to all of these is that the perpetrator in each case saw violence to be his or her best opportunity at the moment. It might have been a last resort in many cases, but it was the best option of what was left in that person’s mind. Exactly why that was the best option at the time, we probably will never know. We can speculate, but that’s only as good as guessing.

pixabay-newbornBut we do know that violence has to be planted in a person’s mind as an acceptable option, in whatever situation. Babies aren’t born violent. They are born wired to seek connection. People have to learn violence, which begins as disconnection. They learn to detach as a survival mechanism when their needs aren’t meant. There are various degrees of this, as we see in insecure attachment research, and definitely few insecurely attached children grow up to choose violence that makes the news. But that detachment is the first step to accepting violence as an option at all.

I believe that we, as individuals, are not inherently violent but that it is learned. If it were so that we are innately violent, we could not be moving toward a more nurturing culture as we are.

pixabay-sad-childBut our culture does have its leftovers from previous generations’ perspectives on relationship, and those leftovers are most often seen — not in the news of mass killings that we are increasingly seeing — but more in our homes, behind closed doors, when conflict arises between couples and between parents and children. Those leftovers are there when parents yell at, emotionally withdraw, or strike their children in the name of “discipline.” Those leftovers are there when babies begin life with crying it out, learning that their biological need for connection will be ignored.

There are so many contributing factors to societal violence, but it all does start in the home — with what our children grow up with, learning what is “normal” and what is expected, learning how to “resolve” disagreements and “calm” strong emotions like frustration or disappointment…whether peacefully or with force.

We have to change the way we live, in all areas of our lives, beyond but especially behind closed doors, in order to nurture peace and live in world harmony.

Join us, starting October 1, as API explores this theme through Attachment Parenting Month. World peace begins with peace in the home.

We are parents: We are all in the business of world peace.

Parenting for peace

“But peace is about much more than putting weapons aside. It is about building a global society in which people live free from poverty and share the benefits of prosperity. It is about growing together and supporting each other as a universal family.” ~ Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

There seems to be barely a day when we don’t hear of a tragedy somewhere on the globe — an act of violence, a casualty of war, a community in mourning, a home shattered by abuse. Where is peace?

Peace in our world, our nations, our communities, our homes, ourselves — we all want it, but it can seem unattainable in the societies where we live. Or is it?

On this International Day of Peace — today, September 21 — Attachment Parenting International (API) is excited to announce the theme of this year’s Attachment Parenting (AP) Month beginning October 1:

logo that hopefully doesnt change color

Each day of October, API will delve into how parenting is critical for striving toward peace and world harmony. We will renew our support for the ultimate peacemakers — you, the parent.

This October:

  1. Follow us here on APtly Said for 31 days of Peace and Harmony through Daily Parenting Tips and inspirational posts from peacemakers around the world.
  2. Add your family to our Wall of Harmony.
  3. Submit a post, however short or long, on what “parenting for peace” means to you to be published on APtly Said during AP Month.
  4. Donate items to our online auction, running October 18-31.
  5. Keep in touch and share AP Month with friends on Facebook.

Staying centered despite your child’s public meltdown

pixabay - hands holding tantrumming childYou can tell a lot about a person by their shopping cart — and also how they deal with their toddler’s tantrum in the middle of the store.

Clean-up needed in Aisle 9 — 3 year old having a meltdown after being in the store for 2 hours while Mom is looking for gravy packets. Wouldn’t it make sense to put the gravy packets next to the instant potatoes and boxed stuffing?!

The clean-up needed isn’t from the once-nicely stacked boxed pasta now strewn across the floor from the flailing arms and legs of the child. It’s needed to unclog the aisle from passersby, so Mom can fully focus on her child without the distraction of what can seem like annoyed, judging looks of others.

I have seen many a stressed-out parent in the store try to keep their patience with a tired-out, hungry child in the store. Even timing shopping trips between naps and snacks doesn’t always work to prevent public tantrums. How much more patience parents might have if they didn’t feel pressure — real or perceived — from others to do something now with their seemingly out-of-control child!

I have been that parent, who is otherwise able to empathize with my child’s strong emotions but who second-guessed herself after a decade of Attachment Parenting, because of an old lady’s furrowed brow when my kid — with an especially high whine — complained about the length of the grocery trip.

The good new is, though we may sometimes still second-guess ourselves, the longer we practice Attachment Parenting, the easier it is to get back to the values we strive to espouse and pass down to our children, such as that responding with sensitivity and positive discipline is more important than pleasing a disapproving stranger.

It helps me to think that others aren’t necessarily disapproving. We don’t know each other after all. We don’t talk to each other, other than the polite “excuse me” when passing in front of the chips shelf she’s studying. There is no appropriate opportunity to get deep with the person to ask why that person has such a seemingly unhappy disposition at that moment. It very well could be that it has nothing to do with my child — even if the person, if asked, would disagree. Each of our world perspectives is made up of countless factors — current environmental stimuli are actually a small fraction of how we perceive the world at any one time. So much of it depends instead on our values, our background, if we’re hungry or tired or feeling unwell, our relationship health with others, and so on.

I learned this through Nonviolent Communication. Learning the premise of this communications style can be life-changing.

Another life-changing skill is mindfulness — the art of being present in our lives.

API Live logo - newjon and myla kabat-zinnAttachment Parenting International (API) is offering you an opportunity to learn more about mindfulness and mindful parenting on Monday, September 12, through an API Live! teleseminar with Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, and his wife Myla, mindfulness experts and coauthors of Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. It’s as easy as listening in on your phone. The live teleseminar starts at 9 pm EST, and all registrants will receive a downloadable recording after the event. Register here.

Research shows that being mindful can reduce stress and have profound effects on physical and mental well-being through a greater sense of balance, empathy, clarity, and peace.

Peace seems over-rated sometimes, with how much the word is used, but it’s actually underestimated in how much striving toward peace can improve your life. Peace implies that you feel content with your life — a nice, constant happiness — rather than riding life’s ups and downs in the search for the peak of happiness…which of course feels good, but it never lasts. But peace lasts.

Peace makes it easier to get through the grocery store with a cranky child, and easier to look past that stranger’s glare to empathize with her unknown situation, and easier to stick to your values of Attachment Parenting.

World Breastfeeding Week 2016 is here!

wbw2016-logo-textAttachment Parenting International is pleased to announce that we are taking part in World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), August 1-7. Check daily for posts about breastfeeding.

The 2016 theme of World Breastfeeding Week is “Breastfeeding: A Key to Sustainable Development” and centers on how breastfeeding is not only the cornerstone of a child’s healthy development, but also the foundation of a society’s healthy development. This annual observance is coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, which has granted permission to reprint the following post:

Many great things emerge from ideas born in basements.

Once upon a time, 25 years ago, in the basement of the UNICEF building in New York City, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action was formed. A year after the Innocenti Declaration of 1990 formally recognized the unique nature of breastfeeding, came the call for concerted global action. So in 1991, a consensus was reached on the need for a global secretariat to coordinate collective efforts.

WABA is now a global alliance with more than 300 organizational endorsers and works across the spectrum to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding — from United Nations institutions to mother support groups, with physicians, midwives, and healthcare professionals, to health ministries, from academics to activists. Over the years, the variety of actions at all levels — from global to local — has contributed to positive change in policy and practice.

WABA today strives to live up to our name:

  • World — we are global in our ambitions and reach.
  • Alliance — we work in cooperation with like-minded people and organizations.
  • Breastfeeding — is basic to human well-being and sustainability and cuts across very many important issue. And finally,
  • Action — because for change to happen, we need more than just the head and heart to engage in the process. We also need the hands.

Through the annual flagship program, World Breastfeeding Week, WABA has made a significant contribution to keeping breastfeeding on the global development agenda. WBW themes are always relevant and popular, involving established and new partners that make up this movement.

Global breastfeeding rates have stagnated for decades. But some countries and regions have made significant progress. Where coordinated action is at several levels, positive change is not only possible but remarkable.

Globalization and urbanization have brought not only positive effects, but also challenges. Inequities, unemployment, poverty, ill health, war and violence, humanitarian crises, climate change, and environmental degradation have accelerated and are exacerbated. Too many countries face the double burden of both under- and over-nutrition.

The 2016 Lancet series on a review of evidence about breastfeeding dispels any doubt that the key actions to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding are still valid. They are valid in all settings regardless of socioeconomic status. The UN-initiated Global Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative is actively demanding a priority spot on the political agenda for breastfeeding. In celebrating our Silver Anniversary, WABA has a golden opportunity to galvanize more coordinated and innovative actions to deal with the changing landscape.

At the center of WABA’s work are the mother and child. They should be surrounded by a warm chain of support for breastfeeding from the husband or partner, extended family and friends, community, health care workers, employers and workplaces, policy makers, and institutions. Empowerment is essential.

Every mother and child should find themselves in an environment that is supportive and enabling toward breastfeeding. WABA believes this is possible, now and for the future of this planet on which we live.

Let’s work for this together!