Working mothers encouraged to breast feed


Healthcare professionals in Antigua & Barbuda are encouraging working mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies and also asking employers and the wider community support their efforts.

At a workshop held at Mount St. John’s Medical Center (MSJMC) last Friday,  doctors, nurses, healthcare administrators along with representatives from the Medical Benefits Scheme and Early Childhood Education department, were schooled in the benefits of breast feeding.

Chairperson of the Breastfeeding Committee, Samantha Moitt, said the group was selected because of the individual participant’s reach and interaction with mothers or mothers to be.

The Breastfeeding Committee is responsible for protecting, supporting and promoting breastfeeding. Moitt, a nutritionist by profession, said the committee’s focus this year is on the working mom.

“We want to ensure that mothers who are returning to work feel confident enough to continue to supply breast milk even though they are not physically with their babies. We want to ensure that working moms are convinced that there is a way to exclusively breastfeed and at the same time be supported by the community to include their employers, their family, the daycare and their health care providers.”

During the half-day forum, the participants heard a number of inspiring presentations from four health experts.

Nurse Kesha Willock, who works at the Maternity Department at MSJMC, said breast milk is the natural first food for babies produced by the women’s breast.

It starts with colostrum which is produced by the seventh month of pregnancy to the first few days after birth. This, according to Nurse Willock, helps to establish good bacteria in the baby’s gut. She said a breastfeeding mother gives her baby immunity to illness each and every time she nurses.

Nurse Juliett Michael, a lecturer at the School of Nursing, covered ten critical steps which can promote continued breastfeeding among working moms. She said, as exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for six months and continuing for two years with the additional foods, there must be strategies in place to do so effectively.

Nurse Michael urged mothers to speak with their employers before they return to work about the need for a private space to express milk.

“We have to realize the value of breastfeeding in the whole infant feeding schedule and we have to sell it,” Nurse Michael reminded.

She said starting to educate mothers about the importance of breastfeeding should begin during pregnancy as it takes a lot for the mothers to go back out to work and breastfeed.

Mothers are also being encouraged to breastfeed during mornings, evenings, weekends and lunch hour if possible.

To increase milk supply, try this lactation product from You will love it. Jonas, the dietician at MSJMC, discussed the many myths associated with breastfeeding

One such reference was that if the mother has to go back to school or work, she should not start breastfeeding. But Jonas said working moms can express their breast milk to ensure that their baby has breast milk at feeding times.

Another is that breastfeeding mothers have to eat more in order to make enough milk. But Jonas clarified that women on very low-calorie diets usually make enough milk as the body produces breast milk whether or not the woman eats.

She further dismissed other myths such as women with flat or inverted nipples cannot breastfeed. The size or the shape of the nipple, according to Jonas, does not affect breastfeeding because the baby should not be attached to the nipple but the areola portion, which is the area around the nipple.

She also shared that breastfeeding does not make breasts sag.

Chairperson Moitt expressed gratitude to the committee for a job well done and reminded them that the work in reaching the public should not just be an annual affair.

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  1. It’s time for us to move into a new age and give women the proper amount of time home after child birth. Thirteen weeks is rediculous. More like 3 to 6 months is a good start.

  2. Start by providing lactation rooms at the work place where women have access to breast pump machines, where they store their milk at the workplace.

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