How breastfeeding education helps UAE moms give babies their best start in life

Lactation consultants spread awareness among new parents



by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Wed 3 Aug 2022, 1:17 PM

Last updated: Wed 3 Aug 2022, 4:46 PM

Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week, new mothers share how healthcare workers from in the UAE hospitals played a key role in helping them breastfeed and offer benefits for life to their babies.

According to the WHO, breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. Breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life. Globally, nearly 2 out of 3 infants are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended 6 months – a rate that has not improved in 2 decades.

Lactation consultants of UAE’s private hospitals noted there are still several barriers to breastfeeding, like inadequate knowledge, lack of awareness of the techniques to help the baby to latch and suck the milk. However, the healthcare workers continue to create awareness among the new parents, which is in line with this year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme: ‘Step up for breastfeeding: Educate and Support’.

Feeding the baby isn’t a concern now

Vijay Lakshmi Mishra, a 33-year-old mother of two daughters, recalled how feeding her first child was a nightmare during the initial months. She revealed that learning the techniques of breastfeeding from a lactation consultant came as a major relief.

“I can feel the difference. Our second baby is only two months old. From day one, I breastfeed her. It is both convenient for me and good for the child. In just two months, she has gained nearly double her birth weight. But it was the opposite when I delivered my first child six years ago,” said Mishra, a Dubai-based home-maker.

“We struggled to feed our first child. She was not latching on and sucking the milk. The baby kept crying, and we had to feed her formula milk. I was depressed. I tried to breastfeed her, but it was not working out. Personally, it was a tiring exercise. The child was not gaining weight also,” added Mishra.

During her next visit to the hospital, she explained her difficulties to the doctor, who advised a lactation consultant to help.

“She (lactation consultant) taught me how to hold the baby and the other techniques. Women who have undergone caesarean especially find it painful to be in certain positions. So, there are methods that would make you feel comfortable and feed the baby. Now, I find it useful. Feeding my baby is not a concern any more.”

Earlier, Mishra experienced pain while feeding the baby but all those are difficulties of the past. Learning to breastfeed babies has made all the difference.

Becoming a mother after a gap of 8 years posed several challenges for Abu Dhabi resident Vijay Singh. She delivered a baby boy, her third child, earlier this week. However, she pointed out having several doubts in mind, which triggered anxiety.

“My challenge as a mother is that because I was delivering after an eight-year gap, I had forgotten many things, especially regarding food. During the earlier two deliveries, the doctors told me that I could eat anything. But now I was worried about little things,” Singh said.

But in this case too, a lactation consultant offered timely assistance and guided Singh on what exactly to eat and other tips to follow.

“In fact, the foods she recommended are the same ones our parents taught us to eat while breastfeeding. She told me to avoid spicy food, gas-forming food, etc. It was very informative, and I am happy with the knowledge given on breastfeeding.”

Singh added that the lactation consultant shared information on various aspects and cleared all her doubts, including how to make the baby burp.

“I was a bit afraid but the lactation consultant taught me about positioning the baby correctly and burping him after feeding. The first day after having the baby was a little challenging for me. However, from Monday I have started getting used to it. I have realised that not every time the baby is crying, he is hungry. He could be crying because of a bit of colic or because he needs to burp. Once I burp him, he is settled. All these tips were helpful for me,” Singh added.

The new moms lauded the knowledge sharing and timely tips provided by specially trained staff and doctors in helping them in their efforts to breastfeed, which acts as the baby’s first vaccine.

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