UNICEF (2016), in its global strategy for infant and child nutrition, recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life and continued breastfeeding until the child is at least 2 years old, together with the introduction of safe and appropriate complementary foods for the proper development of the child.
A good breastfeeding support during pregnancy and the postnatal period
increases its duration and exclusivity (McFadden et al, 2017).
It is vital that parents know the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of bottle feeding both for the short and long term health of the baby and for the health of the mother (Victora et al, 2016)
As a midwife, I always respect decisions made by the parents as independent and responsible individuals, making sure that they have been duly informed of all existing options, especially in regard to feeding the newborn baby
My main goals as a breastfeeding support professional are:
- to offer mothers a space/time where they can get support for breastfeeding
- to guarantee the physiology of breastfeeding, supporting and discovering the skills, attitudes and knowledge of the mothers
- to ensure successful breastfeeding to clearly teach the basic steps
- to position the baby to the breast correctly and to recognize a good latch
- to help recognise the various suction rates and their benefits
- to support and promote breastfeeding on demand
- to ensure the proper development of both baby and the optimal recovery of the mother during the postpartum period
- to provide a safe space ito talk about questions, concerns and fears regarding infant feeding
- to offer practical ideas for beginning and continuing breastfeeding healthily
- to provide practical ideas so that mothers can return to work and continue breastfeeding healthily
- to give information on the benefits of co-sleeping (UNICEF, 2014)
- to offer advice and options specific to each breastfeeding problem
- to provide support to pregnant mothers so they can become familiar with breastfeeding and thus make a good start when the time comes.