Tag: #March4Nutrition

Guest Post: Conquering Nutrition Myths in Myanmar – Breastfeeding #Marchis4Nutrition

In honor of National Nutrition Month in March, 1,000 Days is amplifying the critical role the world’s mothers play in nourishing the next generation through our annual online #Marchis4Nutrition campaign. Throughout the month, we will also be highlighting stories from our partners. Follow along and get involved on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #Marchis4Nutrition.

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. They work in 120 countries around the world to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. Save the Children does whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.

Save the Children works in many communities with mothers such as Ms. La Min to provide robust health and nutrition programs that save children’s lives and ensure they grow up healthy.

This is Ms. La Min’s story from Myanmar.

I thought that formula was better than my own breast milk because I had very limited knowledge about the benefits of breastfeeding – and also because of marketing by the formula companies.

They claim that formula is good for my child’s IQ and every mother wants to give the best to their child. Therefore, I thought it should not be a problem if I cannot breastfeed, because I can afford to buy formula instead. So I choose formula against my own breast milk.

Then, I realized that my child was getting sick at least two times a month and I needed to bring her to the hospital very frequently while I was giving formula to her. Her immunity was very low. I started thinking that something is going wrong. Later on, I became more aware about the benefits of breastfeeding and that “Breast milk is the best” by reading educational materials.

I thought formula was better for my baby’s IQ because of the marketing and because I didn’t have appropriate knowledge before. Moreover, every mother I saw at the antenatal clinic said that formula is better for children’s IQ. Then, I became to believe in formula.

Infant formula is heavily marketed at hospitals and at baby counters in shopping centers. When I went shopping to prepare for my delivery, I saw so many different formulas. Whenever I visited the hospital or shopping centers I saw promotional messages everywhere. They say that they have Dumex and Similac. They also say that Similac is more expensive but that is because it is the best. Sale attendants told to every mother like that. Every mother also say that Similac is good.

When I delivered my baby, I spent time with a nurse from the hospital because I didn’t have experience with child caring. The nurse said to me “You don’t need to breastfeed. Formula is better for your baby to be strong and have good IQ.” That was also one of the reasons I trusted in formula.

The nurses themselves are believing the wrong things because of those companies. Not only nurses but also many doctors. I was even shout at by a doctor for not giving formula to my baby. When they weighed my baby, the doctor said that my baby’s weight was below what it should be – and he said it was because I quitted the formula. I replied that I quitted because my lactation consultant told me that I don’t need to give formula, my breast milk is the best.

I want to know everything about breastfeeding. I have known most of the breastfeeding information for a mother-writer, so now I want to help other mothers. What I feel very sad about is that people from my native town believes my baby is smart because I gave her formula. Actually, it is not because of formula. It’s because of other measures such as how I’m taking care of her. I find it very difficult to explain my friends from home town.

Another story is in Yangon, in my neighborhood, there is a mother who operates a photo-copy shop. She can breastfeed well. One day, when her baby was about 3 or 4 months old, she told to me that she is very sad because she cannot afford buying formula. I asked her “Is it because you have no breast milk?” She said “No, I have enough breast milk. I want to give formula because every other mothers are giving formula.” I told them that breast milk is the best but they don’t believe me. The messages from the advertisements are nailed in their head.

I feel really sad because my husband still wants to give formula to our daughter because he wants her to be a big baby. In the battle of breastfeeding – the doctor and my husband are on the formula’s side and I’m the only one on the side of breast milk. We are always fighting. It’s very disappointing.

#Marchis4Nutrition: What if Moms had access to the support needed to reach their breastfeeding goals?

In honor of National Nutrition Month, 1,000 Days is kicking off its annual #Marchis4Nutrition campaign to amplify the critical role the world’s mothers play in nourishing the next generation. During the next 4 weeks, we will be imagining a world in which moms have the support they need to give their children a healthy start to life. This week we’re asking:

What if moms had access to the support needed to reach their breastfeeding goals?

A world in which women receive support to breastfeed is a world in which women and children thrive. Enabling women to breastfeed for as long as they desire would result in less illness and disease, as breastfeeding plays a key protective role for infant health.  Fewer children would die from diarrhea and pneumonia – two of the leading causes of child mortality globally – as well as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)—a leading cause of infant mortality in the U.S. If babies were breastfed early and exclusively for the first 6 months, evidence shows that over 820,000 lives could be saved each year.

And it is not just babies who would benefit from breastfeeding. For every year a mother breastfeeds, she significantly reduces her risk of developing ovarian cancer, invasive breast cancer and heart disease.

“If moms had access to the support needed to reach their breastfeeding goals, they could reduce their risk for certain cancers while providing the optimal nutrition for their children.”
– Helen Keller International’s ARCH Project

So what will it take for moms to have the support they need? From the outset, women need access to quality healthcare, including skilled breastfeeding counseling. Women need access to job-protected paid time off from work to care for their newborns and to establish breastfeeding. And women need better policies and programs that enable them to start and continue breastfeeding as long as they choose, including breastfeeding education efforts and restrictions on the unethical promotion of infant and toddler formula.

For women and children living in conflict or emergency settings, even more support is needed. Ample privacy and space, psychological counseling and assistance with attachment and positioning are critical. For some mothers, breastfeeding can even help reduce stress. But it means strengthening systems of support to do so.

“Breastfeeding is the natural diet containing all the nutrients a child needs.”
– Nutrition International’s National Program Manager, Dr. Ahsanullah Khan Bhurgri

ALL moms need support to reach their breastfeeding goals. Join the #Marchis4Nutrition conversation on Facebook and Twitter this month and tell us what you think: What does the world look like if moms have the support they needed to reach their breastfeeding goals…?

To learn more about the worldwide support needed for breastfeeding, check out the Global Breastfeeding Collective, a partnership of 20 prominent international agencies and non-governmental organizations, including 1,000 Days and led by UNICEF and WHO.

Building Off The Momentum of #March4Nutrition

“Our boys are adopted. When we got our first son I asked for maternity leave and was told I could take a couple of days off if I found someone to cover your shifts. I got a 1/2 day off when our second son came and I got zero days when our third son came. I was at work when he was five days old.” – Gabrielle

“I went to WIC in tears when our daughter was two weeks old. We were still having latch issues. The two sweetest women worked with me. Without their support, I truly believe I would have given up. Fifteen months later I am still breastfeeding my little one. I can’t thank them enough.” – Sandra

“My daughter was born three weeks early, developed severe jaundice and was too weak to feed normally. She spent two weeks at the children’s hospital. Insurance covered nearly all of the $90k hospital bill, including meeting with the people who helped get us back to breastfeeding.” – Stacy

These are just a few of the powerful voices that we heard during our online “march” last month in honor of National Nutrition Month.

Over a span of 31 days, more than 60 mothers, fathers and families shared their personal experiences in nourishing their little ones. Many of the stories we received made us smile while others made us cry – but they all shed light on important issues impacting the health of moms and babies in America and around the world.

These issues range from access to high-quality health insurance, comprehensive paid family leave and defending America’s foreign aid investments that cover the cost of proven, life-saving programs.

We’re excited to build off this momentum and continue to stand with the 1,000 Days community on behalf of women and children here in the United States and around the world.