55% of mothers suspend breastfeeding upon entering work
Keep the Breastfeeding exclusively during the first six months of the baby's life, as recommended by the WHO World Health Organization, seems impossible mission for many mothers, or at least, as shown by a survey conducted at the national level by the Comité of Breastfeeding of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (CLM-AEP), with the collaboration of other professional associations, to more than 500 mothers with children under two years of age.
The return to work affects the continuity of breastfeeding
The data from this survey that has measured the nursing habits of Spanish mothers reveal that 55.1 percent of women stopped breastfeeding in order to return to work, while 23.1 percent started mixed feeding with your baby, that is, Breastfeeding combined with formula milk.
And is that the short duration of maternity leave, currently 16 weeks in Spain and 18 weeks in the case of multiple birth, are insufficient if what is intended is to feed the baby exclusively breast milk during the first six months of life.
Thus, half of the women surveyed stated that they considered that the return to work had affected "a lot or a lot" in the continuity of breastfeeding. The lack of time and the incompatibility of schedules were the two aspects highlighted by mothers as the main influential factors in the suspension or reduction of breastfeeding. 9.6 percent of the respondents started complementary feeding (fruit, vegetables and meat) and only 7.8 percent maintained breastfeeding exclusively.
Breastfeeding and working, motto of the European Week of Breastfeeding
On the occasion of the celebration of the European Breastfeeding Week ending on October 10 under the motto "Breastfeed and work, let's make it possible!" The Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (CLM-AEP) has pointed out the "proven" benefits that the maintenance of the Breastfeeding has for the health of both the mother and the baby. These benefits are noticed when this feeding is maintained for at least the first six months of the baby's life.
For this reason, Dr. Marta Díaz, coordinator of the committee, has pointed out that "in our country, there is still a long way to go." The return of the woman to the 16th week of giving birth makes it difficult, on numerous occasions, to maintain Successful breastfeeding because companies are not aware that favoring breastfeeding is closely linked to higher labor productivity in women. "
Healthy benefits of breastfeeding
The benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and her baby - says Dr. Marta Díaz - are "more than proven".
Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother
- Reduces the risk of diabetes, ovarian cancer and breast cancer
- Provides greater emotional stability in the mother at the time of returning to work
- It contributes to reducing absenteeism since breastfeeding contributes to a better health of both (mother and child).
Benefits of breastfeeding for the baby
- Reduces the number of gastro-intestinal infections, otitis, severe lower respiratory infections
- Minimizes the chances of sudden infant death
- Reduces the chances of suffering from obesity, atopic dermatitis, and asthma in children.
Changes to make breastfeeding compatible and work
The Breastfeeding Committee recommends that companies make some changes, such as:
- Provide rest periods so that mothers can breastfeed their child or express their milk
- Have adequate spaces and intimate for this purpose
- Make work schedules more flexible or create partial days
- Do part of the work from home
- Inform pregnant mothers and to all employees that these policies exist to support breastfeeding in the company.
The main objective of the European Breastfeeding Week (SMLM) is to join efforts of all sectors to make it easier for women to work and breastfeed everywhere and to encourage the development of actions by companies in accordance with women and their families that actively support working mothers to continue breastfeeding.
Dr. Diaz says that "everyone wins in an environment that supports breastfeeding: business, society and family." Promoting breastfeeding must be a priority public health policy since it improves global health and reduces health spending by decreasing risk of numerous diseases, improves the corporate image of the company as a responsible company, reduces the loss of skilled workers due to maternity and favors the early incorporation of women into their work ".
For its part, the AEP has developed a mobile application that offers specific content adapted to the age of the infant, practical, updated and concise information on breastfeeding.
Marisol Nuevo Espín