Parents are prone to wrong procedures in breastfeeding due to lack of knowledge or ignorance. Improper breastfeeding behaviour exposes both the mother and child to a myriad of health risks. Some mothers hold their infants in incorrect positions while lactating interfering with the flow of milk or choking the infants. Mothers also strain their backs while breastfeeding, causing back problems. Mothers may associate typical symptoms that occur after birth, such as cramping with diseases due to limited nursing information. Mothers also fail to monitor the weight of their infants, skin colour, infant behaviour and the nature of stool and urine. The lactating mother tends to lose or gain weight, and they also loss vital elements such as calcium in the body necessary for stronger bones. The devastating part is that very few mothers engage in healthy diets during breastfeeding. Moreover, some mothers shun away from breastfeeding and adopt other formulas for feeding the infants. Using different methods to feed the baby compromises the health of both the mother and the infant. Some mothers also stop breastfeeding at earlier stages than required making children vulnerable to diseases.
In my perspective, breastfeeding is a complicated process that should be given utmost attention. Although it is possible for mothers to learn from experienced ones on how to nurse infants, specific breastfeeding techniques require the services of experts. Unfortunately, the lack of commitment by families trivializes the values of healthy breastfeeding practices. Families should visit hospitals for regular checkups and counselling for useful breastfeeding patterns. I am a strong advocate of exclusive breastfeeding and against formula feeding of infants. As a nurse, my effort in empowering and guiding families in better breastfeeding practices counts a lot in saving lives. I have witnessed the death of infants and mothers in real life and the media and attached significance to the duty of a nurse.
Part 2 – So what
Nurses should expose mothers to risks of failing to observe exclusive breastfeeding to effect change. Nurses should inform families that women are likely to contract ovarian cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and excess weight if they do not breastfeed. Likewise, children become susceptible to diseases since the mother’s milk contains essential elements for strong immunity. Nurses should also inform families that children can acquire leukaemia, obesity, diabetes, otitis media, asthma or even death if they are not breastfed (Stuebe, 2009). According to Raha et al., 2010, nurses can encourage exclusive breastfeeding by an earlier assessment, planning and management of mothers before giving birth. The nurse perception plays a significant role in promoting exclusive breastfeeding movement.
Nurses need to advise families on the appropriate span for breastfeeding. Mothers should continuously breastfeed infants for not less than six months. Early withdrawal from breastfeeding weakens the immunity of children. Nurses should identify the factors that may encourage cessation and advice parents on their dangers. For instance, as I nurse, I value the bond between a mother and infant, guiding mother on such criteria may help mothers breastfeed for a longer time (Barrientos, & Davies, 2020).
Mothers who have caesarean delivery experience problem with breastfeeding due to pain and confusion. Nurses should provide more support to caesarean victims to trigger a breastfeeding environment by bringing the mother and infant close together. Nurses should also meet the psychological needs of caesarean since the procedure may make them feel detached from their babies compared to the natural way of delivery (Kuguoglu. et al., 2012). Nurses also play a crucial role in mentoring and instilling confidence in mothers. Nurses should act as lactation consultants by sharing experiences about breastfeeding to guide mothers on healthier practices.
Nurses should guide mothers on how to breastfeed their babies when sick. Mothers may panic when infants have health issues that may make inactive in sucking. However, a nurse should inform lactating mothers on other ways such as squeezing the breast to pump out milk or using a spoon to feed the baby (Office On Women’s Health, 2018). Nurses also need to educate mothers on how to tell when the infant is hungry or when satisfied. Nurses should advise parents on the suitable feeding rate in day to make a baby healthy. A well-fed baby usually has a hydrated skin and is active in reacting to the environment.
Nurses spend significant time with mothers before and after delivery of children. Nurses should guide the patient with the correct way to hold a baby to avoid choking while breastfeeding. The breastfeeding position should support the mothers back. The nurses should also inform mothers on how to enhance the reflex in milk flow in cases where maternal milk fails to pop out. Nurses should also guide parents in monitoring the weight of the baby, urine concentration, and the wetness of urine in the diaper and the appearance of stool (Boersma et al., 2019).
Part 3- Now what
For healthier breastfeeding practices, the community of the lactating mother should support her. The surrounding that affects breastfeeding practices includes the mother’s partner, employers, friends, relatives, organizations and the media. An employer should provide adequate breaks and private rooms for lactating mothers and support them during the lactation period. Breastfeeding education should be extended to all people to encourage mothers to breastfeed and feel appreciated in society. The father’s child should also aid the mother in making breastfeeding decisions and plans. Breastfeeding programs should also be implemented to encourage mothers to breastfeed by providing incentives to responsible mothers. Spreading breastfeeding information on social media platforms can also educate people and shape a culture of healthy practices. The government should also discourage brands that serve as a substitute for breastfeeding (NCBI, n.d.).
According to Crouch, 2015, mothers who are in good physical and psychological condition engage in healthy breastfeeding practices. Fathers should avoid stressing lactating mothers since stress interferes with hormones necessary for breastfeeding. The mothers should also take balanced meals and mainly focus on diets rich in calcium to improve the strength of bones. Light exercises also keep mothers in great shape and help them develop a positive attitude to breastfeeding. Bed-sharing with infants also creates a strong mother-baby bond that helps in stimulating the flow of milk. Mothers should frequently visit hospitals and follow up with nurses to get updates on efficient breastfeeding practices. Likewise, nurses should educate and support families to promote healthy breastfeeding lifestyles.
Barrientos, R. B., & Davies, P. B. (2020). The importance of supporting mothers who breastfeed. Journal of Nursing | RN Journal. https://rn-journal.com/journal-of-nursing/the-importance-of-supporting-mothers-who-breastfeed
Boersma, S., Gallagher, S., & Petrou, T. (2019). BREASTFEEDING PROTOCOL: Signs of Effective Breastfeeding. www.breastfeedingresourcesontario.ca
Crouch, M. (2015, February 17). 39 breastfeeding secrets every new mother should know. Parents. https://www.parents.com/baby/breastfeeding/tips/31-breastfeeding-secrets/
Kuguoglu., S., Uzun, M., Cinar, N., & Tanir., M. K. (2012). 116 Role of Nurses in Multiple Babies Breastfeeding Success. https://doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2012-302724.0115
NCBI. (n.d.). Breastfeeding from the public health perspective – The surgeon general’s call to action to support breastfeeding – NCBI bookshelf. National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK52684/
Office On Women’s Health. (2018, May 25). Breastfeeding a baby with a health problem. womenshealth.gov. https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-challenges/breastfeeding-baby-health-problem
Raha, P. R., Thassri, J., & Kritcharoen, S. (2010). Roles of Nurses in Promoting Exclusive Breastfeeding Perceived by Mothers’ and Staff Nurses’ in Bangladesh. International Conference on Humanities and Social Sciences.
Stuebe, A. (2009). The risks of not breastfeeding for mothers and infants. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812877/