Studies have shown that breast-milk is the ideal source of nutrition for new-borns as babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their lives are healthier and smarter. And while breastfeeding is seen as an experience involving a mother and her baby, little by little fathers are getting involved in the breastfeeding experience. Yesterday, Nurse Penelope Casasola, a Lactation Consultant held an initiative dubbed “Celebrating the Father’s Role in Breastfeeding”.
Penelope Casasola – Lactation Consultant: “ It was about five years ago when fathers who attended a workshop said that they felt left out, they felt they had a lot to contribute in terms of attending clinic, prenatal care, being there during the labor experience, being a part of the birthing experience, the support system, taking time off from work. Although they only get one week, traditionally some of them took extra time, a month because they knew the need of that mother in that first forty days. She needed the support so that they could organize the family, get in-laws and so to come in and do the running of the home. Holding the baby skin to skin is one of the best ways of soothing a baby, fathers once they understand that are a great resource. They really and truly prevent the mother from experiencing things like the baby blues or postpartum depression. The statistics show that when a father is not involved, not expressing interest the women will only breastfeed 26% of the time but when the father is involved and pro-breastfeeding the mother will breastfeed 98% of the time.”
Jonathan Vellos was one of the fathers who shared his experience with the audience and told Love news that the experience has been a gratifying one.
Jonathan Vellos – Father: “We underestimate as men the toll that it takes first of all physically for a woman to give birth and then all of those sleepless nights as well, to get up, feed the baby and burp the baby, changing the baby so sleep deprivation comes into play. It is important for us as husbands to support each other, we are partners. Not just when we have different things that we as men want to do if it is business or to support us in other interests. We have where they spend that extra time to take care of the kids like to prepare the meal so that we can do what we want. We are a family and so we have to support each other especially moms. It sets a good example as well for the children to see daddy help mommy. I have heard it said that one of the best things that we can do as fathers is to love mommy.”
Mothers, are not only supported by fathers, but also healthcare facilities which teach mothers how to breastfeed. Today, Cleopatra White Polyclinic became the latest facility to become Baby Friendly certified. At a short ceremony, the Minister of Health, Pablo Marin, applauded the staff on achieving this milestone.
Pablo Marin – Minister of Health: “As we stand here to acknowledge the mother and baby-friendly Polyclinic Award we must reiterate that this represents a special recognition of the very special care that is offered to our wonderful mothers and their precious babies. In all facilities that have received this award previously and whose turn is it now to acknowledge the staff of Cleopatra White Health Center. The mother and baby-friendly hospital initiative was developed by UNICEF and PAHO based on the declaration of 1990. The mother and baby-friendly hospital initiatives aim to give every baby the best start in life by creating a nurturing environment within health facilities where breastfeeding is the norm. It provides a single and a golden opportunity to strengthen the bond and attachment between the mom and the infant. Mothers are therefore encouraged to continue breastfeeding for up to two years, a critical period where breastfeeding is key to protect them against common illnesses during their early years of life.”
Other health facilities that are certified include Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, Western Regional Hospital, and Corozal Community Hospital.