‘Breastfeeding support: Close to Mothers’
Dimapur, July 31
There are ‘rules,’ correct ways of attending to a newborn’s need for nurturing. A mother understanding the practical processes involved in tending to her child is crucial during the initial months of the child’s health. That knowledge is what World Breastfeeding Week seeks to spread amongst mothers and the community as a support group.
World Breastfeeding Week is being observed all over the country under the theme ‘Breastfeeding support: Close to Mothers’ to highlight peer counseling on breastfeeding.“Even when mothers are able to get off to a good start, all too often in the weeks or months after delivery there is a sharp decline in breastfeeding rates, and practices, particularly exclusive breastfeeding,” stated a press release received here today from Dr. Khanlo Magh. Magh is the director of Mission Director of National Rural Health Mission.The period when mothers do not visit a healthcare facility, Dr. Magh says, is the time when a community support system for mothers is essential. “Continued support to sustain breastfeeding can be provided in a variety of ways. Traditionally, support is provided by the family. As societies change, however, in particular with urbanization, support for mothers from a wider circle is needed, whether it is provided by trained health workers, lactation consultants, community leaders, or from friends who are also mothers, and/or from fathers/partners.”
The main objectives of this year’s Breastfeeding Week are to draw attention to the importance of peer support in helping mothers to establish and sustain breastfeeding; inform people of the highly effective benefits of peer counseling and unite efforts to expand peer counseling programs.
Another objective is to encourage breastfeeding supporters, regardless of their educational background, to step forward and be trained to support mothers and babies, the NRHM said. Likewise, identifying local community support contacts for breastfeeding mothers to encourage them to seek help and support after giving birth is another objective. The observance is also to call the attention of governments and maternity facilities globally to actively implement the stated objectives.
“A mother should start breastfeeding within one hour of delivery as the initial breast milk or Colostrum is nutritious, rich in anti-bodies and protects the child against common infection. Breastfeed your child exclusively for six months as for a newborn it is the complete food,” the NRHM chief said.
Young mothers are asked to keep in mind the following three important positions while breastfeeding: “The baby should be held close to the mother’s body. The baby’s face should face the mother’s breast, with nose opposite the nipple. (The child’s) mouth should be wide open, well attached and covering most of the areola, with lower lip turned outward. The mother should hold the baby in such a way that the baby’s bottom as well as the head and shoulders are well supported. The mother’s body should be relaxed and comfortable, and she should maintain eye contact with the baby.”