Bonding time at group breastfeeding
A WOMEN’S support group called the Mother-to-Mother Peer Support (MMPS) is organising a ‘One-Minute Simultaneous Breastfeeding’ event in celebration of the World Breastfeeding Week 2009 at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) where mothers would breastfeed their babies for one-minute at exactly 10.30am this Saturday.
The group is expecting 100 mothers to join the event with their babies and families at USM while 30 hospitals in Malaysia will also invite mothers to breastfeed their newborn babies simultaneously at 10.30am,
The event is part of the group’s effort to encourage all employers to support the national policy on breastfeeding by providing facilities in the workplace for women to breastfeed.
MMPS advisor Dr Balkees Abdul Majeed, who is also a paediatrician and lactation consultant, said both the public and private sectors should support and care for mothers and their babies by according them with breastfeeding breaks, providing storage facilities and nursing stations.
Citing a nursery station in USM where university employees can breastfeed their babies as an example, Dr Balkees said other workplaces should also be equipped with the same facilities.
“Malaysian mothers must practise breastfeeding because it tops any life-saving intervention measures, especially in times of emergencies or disasters. When there is no milk formula during times of disasters, mothers can save their infants by breastfeeding them. But if they are not trained, it may be difficult especially when the babies are not used to breast milk.’’
“Studies by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) show that countries where artificial feeding was prevalent before disasters struck, had higher rates of infant death. This is simply because mothers had gradually lost the knowledge of how to breastfeed,” she told a press conference on Monday.
Sabrina Sunderraj, a mother in the MMPS group, said babies who were breastfed would have a secure and safe food supply and would not be exposed to disease-causing bacteria and parasites that contaminate water supplies.
“In times of crisis, large donations of infant formula, feeding bottles and teats are often donated by people with well-meaning intentions.
“Unfortunately, such donations are actually doing more harm than good as there may be no clean water and adequate conditions to prepare a safe infant formula and babies end up ill or die from milk contamination.
“There was a woman who survived with her baby during the Hurricane Katrina on the roof but the baby died of hunger later on as the mother forgot how to breastfeed her child,” said Sabrina, 35, who breastfeeds her 16-month-old baby.