Breastfeeding rates in our country, though improving gradually, are still far from the targeted rate. Often we blame the government and policymakers for the same, but before doing that, each one of us should question how are we contributing to improving it?
We are all aware of the innumerable benefits that breastfeeding offers to our babies and mothers and the entire nation. It is the single most powerful intervention to prevent mortality in infants under 5 months of age. Breast milk is the only source of nutrition that is tailor-made for the baby. Surely, its the best investment plan for safeguarding the short term as well as long term health of your tiny tot. If we really wish for better health of our future generation, we should all contribute to help achieve that goal.
Families play an important role in this too. The in-laws can help the mother with the household chores so that she can rest and feed her baby appropriately. If you’re a friend of a mother who’s struggling to breastfeed, motivate her not to give up. If you are a parent to the mother, let your daughter consume a balanced healthy diet without any restrictions. Help your neighbour/cousin by sharing your own experiences about how you dealt with your baby’s feeding issues and tell them that things will come back on track eventually.
Fathers have an equal role to play for their baby’s well-being. They must involve themselves in baby activities like baby massage, diaper change, playing with the baby, etc. They must also support their wives emotionally when they go through postpartum depression. Health care providers should encourage early initiation of breastfeeding and encourage breastfeeding on demand. Lactation consultants/nursing staff should be patient enough to give enough time to train the mothers with correct skills and boost their confidence. Employers should create and implement policies to help nursing mothers in every possible way, and society should never look down upon mothers breastfeeding in public.
Our country’s health, employment, as well as economic status, is in our hands. Let us come together to support and promote breastfeeding.
Lactation Consultant, Pune
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