Overcoming the individual and social barriers to breastfeeding
Here we focus on the importance of breastfeeding and the ways to overcome the individual and social barriers to breastfeeding.
1 – Education during the pregnancy
Prenatal education should emphasize the absolute superiority of human milk, the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, identifying common maternal and newborn problems, the reasons for avoiding breast milk, and responding to doubts and misconceptions about breastfeeding. On the other hand, the needs of mothers for acquiring and empowering them with breastfeeding skills, practical breast feeding problems, including working mothers, how to store and maintain milk, and the timing of auxiliary feeding should be discussed as well as the importance of timely follow-up visits. Mothers should also be protected from synthetic dairy products.
Prenatal education helps mothers increase their efforts and prepare themselves for successful breastfeeding by removing barriers before they face more complex problem.
2– Preparing mothers for an optimal breastfeeding experience at hospital
All hospital staff, including pediatricians, gynecologists, midwives, nurses, and doulas should assist a woman who has given birth with breastfeeding her baby and dispose of the possible barriers to skin-to-skin contact and start exclusive nutrition in the first hour.
Skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the baby immediately after birth is very important, especially since the baby is at a peak of consciousness about 90 minutes after birth and up to 48 hours, and then the baby’s consciousness decreases to some degree. Studies have shown that the earlier this contact is established, the greater the success in lactation and duration of lactation. Injections of the vaccine and vitamin K are also more relaxing and less painful for the baby during the skin contact of the baby and the mother. Erythromycin drops to prevent eye infections can also be postponed until after the baby’s peak consciousness.
Studies have shown that during the first 3 hours after birth, there is a dose-dependent relationship between skin-to-skin contact and exclusive breast feeding, both during hospital stay and continued post-discharge follow-up. Therefore, skin contact with maternal and infant skin for a long time, without interruption and immediately after delivery, should be recognized as a strategy for promoting exclusive breastfeeding.
If a baby needs breastfeeding, the milk from breastfeeding mother will both benefit from exclusive breastfeeding and lead to an abundance of breast milk. Therefore, if the procedure is started in the hospital for medical reasons, the mother and infant should be closely followed to return to full breastfeeding as soon as possible and if breastfeeding is still needed, natural breastfeeding should be provided. Other formula milk should be used instead of natural milk.
By providing an intimate and private environment, it can help the mother learn to recognize and respond to her baby’s hunger symptoms, maintain skin contact, comfort her breasts, and gain maternal self-esteem. Therefore, hospital staff, people who visit, and phone calls should not cause long-term interruption of contact between mother and baby.