This Breastfeeding Week - Enable and Empower Parents

Mothers, have you ever shied away from breastfeeding in public? Or worried about what your boss might say if you don’t show up for work even after your maternity leave ends? Or felt that your partner isn’t as involved as they should be during the entire breastfeeding period? Its time you raise your voice to empower yourself and your child.

Where it goes without saying that the role of the mother in the early stages of having a child is of extreme importance, that of their partners and their surroundings play as much of a role as they do in making the entire process optimal.

Engaging men in maternal and child health care improves rates and success of breastfeeding women and we can only achieve full equality for women in the workplace if men and boys do their share of care work.

While men, in theory, can also breastfeed (Yes, you read that right!), you can leave the task of actually feeding the child to the mother and help her and support her in so many other ways. Breastfeeding can be psychologically challenging, bodily very tiring, and uncomfortable at times. There are tons of things that you, as a father, can do to support your partner.

Help in calming down a fussy baby, become the biggest cheer leader, encourage her by saying “lets try it one more time” and once the baby has nursed his fill, a father’s loving arms is a wonderful place for his baby to be. Spend time just hanging out with the baby so that the breastfeeding mother can rest.

Fathers can even bottle-feed the baby with breast milk. If the mother is okay with expressing milk manually or with a pump, dad can introduce the baby to a bottle and start taking over at feeding times. This will also help the mom to get ready to go back to work without worrying about her child.

Breastfeeding is one of the most important things parents can do to get their baby off to a great start in life. So, fathers, you have tons to do! Don’t feel left out or let your partner feel the same way during this entire beautiful process.

Breastfeeding after returning to work is a way to tie the two halves of your life together. Not only is combining work and breastfeeding essential for the mother but also makes the child healthier and the employers benefit from it.

Scaling up breastfeeding can prevent 20,000 maternal deaths, 823000 child deaths and $302 billion worth economic losses annually. While more than 800 million women workers, on a global scale, still do not have adequate maternity protection, it is important to bear in mind that every additional month of paid maternity leave decreases the infant mortality rate by 13%.

Women are more likely to stay in their job in the longer term, if they can breastfeed at work. It motivates the staff and helps to increase their participation and productivity in the workplace.

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. This year, this entire week is dedicated towards endorsing the importance of family-friendly strategies to help parents nurture and bond with their children in their early life, when it matters most.

A paid maternity leave for a minimum of 18 weeks along with a paid paternity leave to encourage equally shared responsibilities and access to a safe, private and hygienic workplace which provides a parent-friendly environment are all included in these policies.

Everyone is aware of how becoming a mother is a frightening, gigantic leap into a new, all-encompassing stage of life. While breastfeeding is an extremely vital phase in a baby’s life and growth, it plays an equally important role in the parents’ life.

All those who have already been through this process or are going to in the future should be extremely comfortable with it. And, as nursing mothers will tell you in chorus, breastfeeding has the most marvelous calming effect on them.

So, embrace it with open minds, connect with your baby, have your partner support you in whichever way you need, stop worrying about tiny issues like leakages at work, ask for an environment that puts your mind at ease. Instead, enjoy this period, give your child the best possible beginning and empower yourselves by gaining confidence in yourself as a parent!

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