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Aug 6, 2019

Let’s Empower Parents to Enable Breastfeeding.

It’s Breastfeeding Week in Belize and the proponents of breastfeeding are championing family support to help moms. The focus is on supporting both parents, with the inclusion of fathers to help moms reach their breastfeeding goals. But what does that support look like? It involves creating an enabling environment where mothers can breastfeed. News Five’s Andrea Polanco spoke with three promoters of breastfeeding to find out more. Here’s the story.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

“Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding.” It’s the theme for this year’s Breastfeeding Week in Belize and it is also the mission of veteran lactation consultant, Penny Casasola. She is encouraging families, especially fathers, to be more involved during the breastfeeding period. Women are encouraged to breastfeed their babies exclusively for six months. But most times it is not easy to But because women play a number of roles in the home, it is not easy to do so. Locally, the aim is to get dads to step up and support their spouses and babies:


Penny Casasola, Breastfeeding Consultant

Penny Casasola

“The father, especially, plays a pivotal role. He makes a profound impact on that success of that mother in the running of the house; in supporting breastfeeding; going to the clinic with her; being her labour support during the child birthing process; taking time off from. They can actually feed the baby the express breast milk so that the mother can take a shower, take a rest, she can get a meal. She can really and truly be kept that calm way because she needs this rest and to overcome this stress of the whole experience. And he also needs to hold that baby skin to skin.”


There are men who don’t make the effort to support their spouse during this time. In Belize, it is quite common and a lot of it has to do with the way we are socialized.  Some men see taking care of the baby and house duties as woman’s job. But studies show that Women are able to breastfeed the baby almost one hundred percent if men help them during this time. Ronald Stuart who is a support member of the lactation team, knows this first hand:


Ronald Stuart

Ronald Stuart, Support

“Father’s play a very important role in the entire process. It takes two persons to make a child; a man and a woman. While the woman delivers and nurses, the man could be supportive so that the process can be helpful and successful. In many instances, because of the way we are socialized, men may think breastfeeding is only for the mother or women. But in essence, where studies have shown, when a woman wants to successfully breastfeed and she doesn’t get the support from men the success rate would be about twenty-six percent and when  she has the support from men it goes up to ninety-eight percent. I was present for the delivery of my son….the benefits have paid off when he said, ‘you know you did a good job.”


Many moms don’t have that support at home and not all of moms are able to breastfeed the way they want to. And that is where nurse Mercy Madubuko is a certified lactation counselor comes in. She helps families through these hurdles:


Mercy Madubuko, RN/Certified Lactation Counselor

Mercy Madubuko

“Once pregnancy is diagnosed, we encourage fathers to go to the clinic with the mothers. As a certified lactation counselor, we notice that we could say ten things to the mother and if you ask her tomorrow she remembers two. But with the father there, he would remember three or four. So, when you add it up that is six or seven things out of the ten. And if this family can make use of the seven, it is beautiful. This baby will be raised and breastfed. So, generally we want to let fathers and families know that we are there. We could help. The clinics could help. We generally could help and once you have help you could go extra mile.”


Andrea Polanco reporting for News Five.

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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