Monday, August 20, 2012

Action Step 2: Fathers and Grandmothers

We're continuing our focus on the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding.  Today's focus is one that is near and dear to our hearts. I was blessed to have a husband who was very supportive of my breastfeeding efforts, even in the early days when I was struggling. My mother didn't live close by, but she had breastfed me, and was very encouraging as well.

Today's action step focusing on fathers and grandmothers is found on page 39 of the Surgeon General's document.

Action 2. Develop programs to educate fathers and grandmothers about breastfeeding

A woman’s decision to breastfeed is strongly inluenced by the beliefs and attitudes of her family and friends. Unfortunately, family and friends may discourage a mother from breastfeeding if it is not accepted within their culture. Often, when a mother is thinking about how to feed her baby, she values the advice of her partner the most, followed by the advice of her mother, family, and friends. In fact, she often values their advice more than the advice of health care professionals.

Partners are particularly important because their approval means so much to a mother, and her partner is often a mother’s primary source of support. Although fathers want the best for their family, they may become jealous or resentful or get the feeling that they will not be able to bond with their child if their partner chooses to breastfeed. he baby’s grandmothers are also very influential because mothers who have recently given birth rely on them for support and advice. To make breastfeeding successful, mothers need the support and encouragement of all of these people.

Implementation Strategies 

Launch or establish campaigns for breastfeeding education that target a mother’s primary support network, including fathers and grandmothers. Local campaigns can use print, billboard, radio, and television public service announcements that feature members of a specific population for more effective reach.

Offer classes on breastfeeding that are convenient for family members to attend. Educational materials and classes that are directed toward fathers and grandmothers need to be developed to attract and involve this extended support network. To encourage the participation of family and friends, consideration should be given to involving churches, civic organizations, health clubs, community centers, and schools because these venues may be more accessible than health care institutions. Offering classes during a variety of hours and days also may improve participation.

Getting Involved

At A Nurturing Moment we believe in supporting the entire family unit. We encourage fathers to come to our breastfeeding classes and talk to them specifically about their role in supporting a wife who is nursing a baby. 

We also view grandmothers as very important! This document can be printed and given to any grandmother to help her know how she can help her grandchild receive the optimal nutrition provided by breast milk. Grandmothers are always welcome at our Mommy Milk Meet-up group meetings. If you need us to give Grandma some special encouragement, just let us know, and we'll be happy to help! We are looking at beginning a Grandparents Class. Let us know how you think that would go over. We'd love your input!

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