Workplace Support Can Help Mothers Breastfeed

Workplace Support Can Help Mothers BreastfeedWorkplace Support Can Help Mothers Breastfeed

Experts on Friday called on organizations and employers to create a workplace environment which is supportive and respectful of women’s decision to breastfeed their babies.

On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week, observed from August 1 to 7, experts said fathers and other family members should also strive towards providing a positive environment so that mothers can continue with breastfeeding which is a must for newborns for the first six months of life.

According to the Indian National Family Health Survey, mothers stop breastfeeding in the fourth month itself despite studies proving that children, who are sufficiently breastfed, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and bouts of diarrhea.

Many women say they find it difficult to balance all the new roles and responsibilities after delivery. The care of the newborn, coupled with household and professional obligations are too much. This is where a strong supportive environment could make a difference.

“There is evidence that support from the family and workplace has a significant positive impact on the mother in her choice to breastfeed the child,” Dr Satish Saluja, senior consultant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi, reports PTI.

Dr Virender Kumar, senior consultant, Neonatology and Pediatrics at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, said breastfeeding is mistakenly considered to be confined to women and babies, but fathers play a much bigger role as research states that their support has a considerable impact on the mother’s decision to continue breastfeeding.

“Fathers should be properly counseled on how breastfeeding benefits their kid in a long run. The more he knows and is willing to help and encourage, the more likely the mother will breastfeed successfully,” Kumar said.

Grandmothers play an equally important role and their parenting experience can influence the mother’s decision to not only initiate but continue breastfeeding. Her assistance in taking care of the baby and domestic responsibilities can make a big difference to the mother, especially in the early months.

In today’s world more and more women are working in order to supplement family income and sometimes they are forced to choose between the two and tend to discontinue breastfeeding the newborn. A positive work environment can, however, ease the mother of such troubles, said Dr Pramod Jog, president, Indian Academy of Pediatrics.