The booklet, Breastfeeding for Working Mothers, gives valuable tips to help working women continue breastfeeding while they work and support their right to a safe and friendly home and workplace
Bengaluru: The WHO, UNICEF and Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) has called for concerted global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work. Whether a woman is working in the formal, non-formal or home setting, it is necessary that she is empowered in claiming her and her baby’s right to breastfeed. Fortis Hospitals has always endeavored to promote the importance of breastfeeding among expectant mothers and help them to do it the right way.
In keeping with the theme of World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7) declared by the World Alliance for Breast Feeding Action (WABA), ‘Breast feeding and work – let’s make it work,’ the Fortis team has initiated a campaign to create awareness about the need to support and empower a working woman to breastfeed her baby.
Renowned theatre personality Arundhati Nag launched the book ‘Breastfeeding for Working Mothers’ authored by lactation expert Mrs Joyce Jayaseelan and Dr. Anita K Mohan, Consultant Gynaecologist & Obstetrician, The Nest, Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road. The booklet gives invaluable tips to working mothers on the importance of breastfeeding, the best ways to do it while working, how they can adequately breastfeed their little ones exclusively for six months despite starting work and how to optimise the facilities in the workplace to breastfeed their baby.
The booklet is also helpful in suggesting ways to express and store breast milk, using a breast pump, breastfeeding in public and how working mothers can handle the stress of home and workplace with the additional responsibility of caring for their newborn.
“Through this book we want to reiterate that mother’s milk is the most important food for the newborn and is superior to any other nutrient that might be given to the baby. The book helps expectant mothers prepare for breastfeeding and introduces them to the importance of initiating it within an hour. Helping a working mother integrate productive work and breastfeeding practice is a complex task that needs diverse strategies and support from various quarters. The working mother should be given valuable information and has to be encouraged to breastfeed her baby in a safe and caring environment, whether she is at home or the workplace,” explains Joyce Jayaseelan, counsellor and lactation consultant at Fortis Hospitals.
The WHO and UNICEF jointly launched the breastfeeding promotion programme a couple of decades ago and WABA and the Government of India has taken this forward by having its own programmes under the BPNI (Breast Feeding Promotion Network Of India). The campaign aims to promote maternity protection with much stronger maternity entitlements, and hopes to initiate more country actions on improving national laws and practices. It also creates awareness about the working woman’s right to breastfeed and calls for more other and breastfeeding-friendly workplaces.
“Working mothers have to be supported to help them breastfeed their baby with an aim to bring down the Infant Mortality Rate which is still quite high in India. This will happen if employers make an effort to become mother and breastfeeding friendly and implement supportive practices to enable the woman to breastfeed,” says Dr Anita K Mohan, consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist at Fortis Hospitals.
The hospital is organising a week-long programme to observe World Breastfeeding Week. The various activities include fun and learning workshop for fathers-to-be on how to take care of their little one, how to change a diaper, correct positions to hold the baby and on how they can be a source of support to their wives, training programme on Optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) Practices, on the basis of WHO Guidelines for nurses. Other programmes include talks for employees and spouses, apartments and corporates on fit mothers and responsible parenthood from Aug 3-5 and a poster competition on breastfeeding and work and quiz for employees.