It Takes a Village to Breastfeed a Child

I am a breastfeeding mother. My and my husband's commitment to breastfeed our son has blessed us with a multitude of benefits. It did not come without sacrifices though. I'd love to share our breastfeeding journey, but I'll save it for another post. It takes me so much time writing down my usually garbled-up thoughts that I don't think I can beat the end of August. Because August is breastfeeding month. And the first days of August is actually the world-wide celebration of breastfeeding week. Moving on...

I know all mothers and parents would do and would want the best for their child. Breastfeeding is one. But unfortunately, not all mothers and parents have been well-informed about breastfeeding that the very act was not even given a thought of, was not initiated from child birth or the mother has succumbed to the very tricky travails of breastfeeding.

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), in line with the breastfeeding week goals this year 2010, is campaigning for greater support from the whole community who will nurture the growth of a child. Here are their Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which is primarily aimed at getting support from the medical and healthcare providers of pregnant mothers and infants:

Every facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants should:
  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant woment about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed, and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming in - allow mothers and infants to remain together - 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

"It takes a village to raise a child," as the old saying goes. Getting greater support from the medical and health field will encourage and enable more mothers to successfully breastfeed their babies. Should ob-gynes, pediatricians, midwives, nurses and the likes take a more active and supportive role and should this be implemented in all hospitals, lying-in clinics and all maternity and neonatal health care units, it won't be long before every mother will be able to breastfeed her children and that every child be able to receive the unparalleled benefits of breastfeeding.

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