Statement GIMS for Breastfeeding
Mothers are life-givers, bearers and nurturers of humanity
We declare the following:
Mothers are the primary child care givers of their infants
Mothers need support to optimally feed their infants
Breastfeeding contributes to the health and well being of mothers and children,
families and communities
Many traditional forms of support for mothers have been undermined and threatened
by forces of globalization, modernization and industrialization
Peer support group methodology has been shown to be effective in changing or maintaining optimal behaviors in a variety of fields such as substance abuse, cancer treatment, etc.
Mother support for breastfeeding is a concept not well understood or valued.
Mothers should be considered active participants in the support dynamic, being both recipients and providers of information and support
Therefore we propose that:
Mother support should be viewed and valued as an important contributor to optimal infant feeding practices throughout the reproductive cycle, with special attention on humanizing pregnancy and childbirth care
Mother support should be defined broadly as any support provided to mothers for the purpose of improving breastfeeding practices for both mother and baby
Mothers should receive support throughout their entire reproductive cycle (pregnancy, birthing and post-natal)
Mother-to-mother support groups are one of many ways that mother support can be provided
Mother support is particularly important for mothers at greatest risk for not breastfeeding optimally such as working women, women in emergency situations, women with HIV/AIDS, etc.
Mother support should be given the highest priority for international, national and local attention and funding Information and practical help should be provided to the childbearing and breastfeeding woman Strategies for ensuring sustainability of mother support efforts should be identified and implemented, including provision of opportunities for networking and sharing of experiences, models, and tools