The last report of my little series on the breastfeeding topic on the occasion of the World Breastfeeding Week 2011 is about the ones who deal with it on a daily basis: as mothers, midwives or doctors.
Many women with their babies come to the consultation hours of the Rolling Clinic. Many breastfeed their children while waiting or even during the consultation. During a 10-day Rolling Clinic in the area of Cabanglasan on Mindanao at the beginning of August, I recorded their opinions on the breastfeeding topic, the challenges which midwife Teresita Manatad and the team of Doctors for Developing Countries – German Doctors have to meet.
At the Rolling Clinic consultation hour in Mandahican, the consultation hour in Cananga-an, and the consultation hour in San Vicente: Many mothers with their babies usually wait in the villages which the Rolling Clinic serves.
„I breastfeed my baby because I cannot afford milk powder or baby food“, says Joy.
This is the very first answer many mothers give me when asked about breastfeeding. But they also know that breast milk is the best nutrition for their little ones.
„My child stays healthy when I breastfeed it“, says Angel. „Especially in difficult times, for example during teething.“
„Breast milk is healthy. And it strengthens the immune system“, Emelyne tells me.
That’s what the mother learn in the local health centers. Just as in the Health Center of Cabulohan. Posters underline the advantages of breastfeeding. In many places, they even show how to do it right. Consulting services are also offered. Midwife Teresita Manatad currently provides advice to 16 young mothers at the Health Center of Cabulohan.
“The consulting service two month after birth is particularly important”, she says. That’s the latest time most of the mothers have to return to working. They must or want to stop breastfeeding at that time. Being a midwife, she encourages women to continue breastfeeding and gives practical advice about pumping.
The team regularly talks about breastfeeding at the Rolling Clinic consultation hours of the German Doctors. Just as in Cananga-an. Nurse Cheche explains that mothers shouldn’t give their babies any other nutrition before the fourth but better the seventh month.
This kind of education given by the Rolling Clinic Team remains very important. German Doctor Robert Henker always addresses the breastfeeding topic after examining mothers, babies or small children.
Robert Henker, German Doctor: „The mothers usually tell you that they breastfeed, five to ten times a day, even four or five times per night. But if you watch it, you can see that they do it relatively shortly, one or two minutes, and the baby just started sucking. We usually advise every mother to breastfeed more than five minutes, at least ten, alternating left and right.“
That’s how young mothers in Cabanglasan receive manifold support to give their child a healthy start into life.
Translation: Ulrike Peter