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Aug 1, 2019

Healthy Living: “Empowering Parents; Enabling Breastfeeding.”

World breastfeeding week starts today and continues to August eighth. This year’s theme is “Empowering Parents; Enabling Breastfeeding.”  While breastfeeding is often seen as the sole responsibility of the mother, research suggests that successfully breastfeeding a child is linked to the mother’s support system. In tonight’s Healthy Living, we find out more about the impact that fathers can have in creating an enabling environment to ensure breast-feeding success.


Penelope Casasola, Advanced Lactation Consultant

“Nutritionally, it is the best because it is a dynamic food.”


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Dynamic enough that parents everywhere are encouraged to feed their baby breast milk and only breast milk or the first six months of their baby’s life. Penny Casasola is a retired midwife and advanced lactation consultant. She’s spent the last ten years working with Belizean parents to guide them through the process of exclusive breastfeeding. One area that she emphasizes is the need for support for moms who are breastfeeding.


Penelope Casasola

Penelope Casasola

“Studies have shown that the father plays a profound role. There is a testament that don’t get that support will only breast-feed twenty-six percent of the time, but with the fathers help they will breastfeed ninety-eight percent of the time. That is major that is a big impact.”


For couples Gina & Jonathan Vellos and Cheryl and Adrian Bosh, the numerous benefits of breast milk for the baby and the mother made it an easy decision to breastfeed their new babies. But both mom’s had some challenges and worked with Miss Penny to get on track. In addition to her help each of the moms credit the support of their families especially their husband in being able to breastfeed.


Gina Vellos

Gina Vellos, Breastfeeding Mother

“It has been and continues to be very important because we have two others daughters. After all mothers know when you get homer working or a stay at home mom you always have to do. So his support in terms of breastfeeding just being there to offer whatever support in the house or with the girls or if it’s with something I am doing in the house or quite often as he does helping with Jayden when I am getting busy.”


Gina’s husband, Jonathan, was put to the test only nine days after their son Jayden was born when Gina had to be hospitalized for an infection.


Gina Vellos

“Daddy had to be at home with the girls and the baby. He had to help with feeding him. So I would express the breast milk at the hospital. I got support there with getting containers and being encouraged to do that. So I would send home the breast milk and daddy would feed the baby.”


Jonathan Vellos

Jonathan Vellos, Gina’s Husband

“When she was n the hospital I defiantly saw a big difference between the formula and the breast milk. Because the formula had a lot of bubbles in it and it would cause him to get gas because of the bubbles inside. It took him longer to take the bottle for it to go down so as a result of that it was more of a—I don’t want to say a strain, but it is more effort.  But with the breast milk he took a lot quicker it went down faster. Less fuss after drinking. Less fuss. Or barely any gas so it was good for him. We had a certain supply of breast milk and I was like (clap) we need more breast milk.”


For first time parents, Cheryl and Adrian Bosh, it was working out a schedule to share the responsibility of caring for their son, Jacob.


Adrian Bosch

Captain Adrian Bosch, Cheryl’s Husband

“The beginning it was hard for us. Sheryl wasn’t producing like she should have. We were going through hard time.  It was a lot of working together. We were tag teaming because sleep was hard with the (baby playing) sleep was hard. We had to work out a pretty rigorous. (Baby playing) We had to work out a rigorous schedule where I would have him for five hours in the night from one until six a.m. and then the rest of the time would have him.”


Cheryl Bosch

Cheryl Bosch, Breastfeeding Mother

“Having Adrian there really helped. It was like a blessing. I realize that I wasn’t in this alone. When I need to relax and rest, he was there too and willing to help and be there for his son. I really don’t know how I could have done it without him.”


Or without the help of their extended friends and family…


Penelope Casasola

“One of the best gifts you can give fro a shower is time. Bring the food. Clean the house, take care of the kids; that’s what a mother really need.”


Jonathan Vellos

“We had great help, Gina’s best friend assisted us and they came over because just like she says our two daughters were still in school because I don’t braid hair. In terms of all the other things. Get them to take a bath because we have to leave so early in the morning.”


Captain Adrian Bosh

“Help was always needed. Cheryl’s mother was a big help her younger sister was big help and when I say help, we needed sleep.”


The most recent study has shown there is an increase in parents who exclusively breastfeed in Belize. At, thirty-three percent in 2015, Penny feels this number can grow, but with the adequate support from others.


Penelope Casasola

“Belize is improving on breast-feeding it has a long way to go with that support. We will get there with that community support. That support starts at home.”


Jonathan Vellos

“I would encourage all men to jump in because it makes life easier for mommy. As fathers we have to set the example. This is for men who have other children. When they see daddy do that and understand that there’s just some myths out there but it’s a wrong perspective that men have about masculinity and what it means to be a man.  You know bringing home the bacon. No it’s more than that. It’s setting the example for the younger children.”


Captain Adrian Bosh

“This is not an easy process and what I would encourage all men to do who are in this situation and by situation I mean fatherhood to be there as much as they can. Be a father. Be a husband. Do all that you can do.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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