Today is the second day of ‘World Breastfeeding Week 2016’. It was first celebrated by the ‘World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action’ in the year 1992. And now, it is being celebrated in 120 countries by the UNICEF, WHO and their participants such as individuals, associations and governments. The World Breastfeeding Week 2016 theme is about how breastfeeding is a key element in getting us to think about how to value our well-being from the start of life, how to respect each other and care for the world we share.
I URGE you to read this message (doesn’t matter you are married or not) and spread this message in your circle for a better and healthy future.
Breastfeeding is usually perceived as mother’s job; even I was ignorant of everything related to this until I became a mother. It is not as easy as it looks. I believe it is more difficult than giving birth, for it’s not a matter of a few hours; it is a commitment of months & years, from-a- mother-to-her-baby. It is not about only unbuttoning your shirt and putting the nipple in baby’s mouth, it is more than that. Trust me.
Read my breastfeeding journey here.
The main aim of this week’s campaign is to emphasize the importance of breastfeeding. There’s a reason why these organizations are taking part in promoting such activities. It is not about an individual, group, community, religion, country; rather it is about the ‘human race’. If we are not helping the new born and mother in laying the strong foundation by supporting them in breastfeeding then, we are also not helping ourselves for our healthy future. It is an investment that we all are required to collectively make – for each other. Because we can’t live alone, we all humans are depended on each other in some or the other way!
A new mother is surrounded by many circles; each circle has a significant role to perform when it comes to supporting her breastfeed her child.
Let’s discuss them one by one in the below mentioned pointers:
Role of family and loved ones: Family and loved ones play a vital role in making the new mother comfortable and adjust to her new designation – ‘a mother’, especially the first time mommy is new to everything that comes after delivery of the baby. After leaving the OT, she is not that girl anymore; rather a mommy to that new born. It is like her new birth. New mother needs time to recover and understand how to take on that new responsibility of the baby. No matter how many parenting books and articles you have gone through, but when the reality comes you go blank and feel puzzled. So here comes the role of parents and in-laws to impart that pool of knowledge and experience to the new mother and let her spend some good time with the baby, leaving other household work at bay. Provide her and baby a comfy place and environment, nutritional food, and moral and emotional support. Husbands are more responsible in making their partner feel emotionally and mentally strong. Only a happy mother can produce enough milk and breastfeed the baby for longer duration.
Role of Employer: The longer the baby is breastfed, the healthier she becomes. Newborns should be thoroughly breastfed for at least six-months; it is their birth-right. No work is more important than the healthy foundation of the human being born on this earth (that’s how I feel and believe). So it’s the duty of the employer to let their employee fulfill her responsibility towards her newborn baby. The companies should support the women in breastfeeding their babies, in whatever way possible – flexi working hours, work from home opportunities, providing day care facilities or an extended maternity leave and that too without cutting their salaries or delaying their promotion. Companies like IBM, HUL, and Standard Chartered Bank are providing enough facilities to let their women employees concentrate on their work without worrying about their kids. If we want women to equally support and contribute to the family and the nation, then it is the duty of the employers to provide them with the foolproof facilities; because we can’t compromise with their well-being.
Role of Government: Although the Indian Government is already pushing the new bill (related to 26-week maternity leave for women) to be passed in the upcoming monsoon session but more awareness needs to be generated to help people understand the importance of breast-feeding and raising healthy kids. Kids are the future and require proper nurturing right from the start. Apart from increasing the duration of maternity leave, government should make it mandatory for every organisation (especially private companies) to provide their women employees facilities like flexi-working hours, day cares and work-from-home options.
Role of Medical Professionals and Institutions: Proper training and support should be given by the medical professionals to help mom breastfeed her baby. Mother needs to be prepared in advance to face the challenges and problems of breastfeeding; it’s also their responsibility to let them know the benefits of breastfeeding and encourage them to continue feeding their babies for longer period. They should also educate them about the tools that can be used for feeding and suggest proper diet plan to enhance milk supply for babies.
Role of Society: New mothers feel shame when breastfeeding in public. It’s because the eyes peeping around them. Why can’t a lady breastfeed her child in public? It’s her duty and her baby’s birth right. Why are we not letting her do her job? It’s because of this a good percentage of mothers do not breastfeed their child and look for other ways to feed them in public, which may prove harmful for the growth of the baby. So let’s together help make society breast-feeding friendly and support mums to breastfeed anytime and anywhere. Let’s make some establishments where mother can freely breast-feed her child and help in the betterment of the nation. Just think about the benefits – low infant mortality rate, physical and cognitive development, improved long-term health, etc.
Now that we have talked about everyone and their roles, let’s talk about the mothers and the tips that they should follow to take care of themselves and the baby:
- Do not forget yourself- meditate, exercise, pamper yourself, and eat home-cooked meals.
- Leave household chores at least for 3 months, seek help from others.
- Talk it out- share your feelings, anxieties with your loved ones.
- Take up this new role as a job and give it your 100%.
- Go with the flow and relax!
Let’s celebrate the ‘World Breastfeeding Week’ by sharing this post.
Do spread the message!