Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants and is not only beneficial to the child’s physical health but also contributes to its mental and spiritual well-being.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “Breastmilk is safe, clean, and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses. Breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one third during the second year of life. Breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese, and are less prone to diabetes later in life. Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.”
Therefore, BCNP strives for breastfeeding as an absolute right for all babies, to ensure that they are healthy and become strong, fit, and have better coping mechanisms and emotional intelligence (EQ), thus inevitably contributing to them becoming a highly competitive future generation.
Many mothers today are aware of the importance of breastfeeding and the recommendation by WHO as mentioned above. To ensure that mothers and babies can succeed in exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, support from various parties is essential. Most mothers and babies desperately need support from their family members, friends, and healthcare professionals (government and/or private health care).
However, BCNP understands the situation of mothers who face challenges to breastfeed their babies from the moment the baby is born. Failure to establish successful breastfeeding could be due to lack of support and knowledge, the negative influence of various myths in society, and inaccurate advice from healthcare professionals who are less supportive of breastfeeding. In addition, there are often cases where solutions to breastfeeding problems are obtained from inauthentic and unreliable sources, or individual experiences from social media. This failure often occurs very early in the postnatal stages if there is no immediate help and support from a certified lactation counsellor. This is where BCNP can play a vital role in preventing such occurrences and ensuring successful breastfeeding is established by providing appropriate counselling and guidance to these mothers.
“A study concludes that in populations with a strong Breastfeeding (BF) culture, lactation counselling, if well done, can have a substantial effect on Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF). This study suggests that the almost doubling in EBF rates attributed to the intervention like frequent home visits by well-trained lactation counsellors is likely to have major maternal and child health implications in Ghana.
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, an EBF rate of 70% was reported among the intervention group at 5 mo compared with a 6% rate in controls after a total of 15 home-based counselling visits were made starting in late pregnancy.
(Haider R., Ashworth A., Kabir I., Hutty S. Effect of community-based peer counsellors on exclusive breastfeeding practices in Dhaka, Bangladesh: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2000;356 p1643-1647.)”
Although the Ministry of Health (MOH) and some private hospitals in Malaysia have certified counsellors, and; despite the number of breastfeeding counsellors increasing, many mothers still do not get immediate help during confinement at home. Not many counsellors or peer counsellors are willing to make home visits to provide assistance for various reasons such as time and financial constraints (travelling costs, time with family is sacrificed).
The lack of motivation among counsellors to provide practical assistance, and choosing instead to assist through the telephone or social media often does not result in successful breastfeeding for mothers and babies. Often, solving a breastfeeding problem requires a face-to-face counselling session between the counsellor and the mother, together with her baby and immediate family members. The counsellor will examine cradling techniques, attachment and latching, the condition of the mother’s breasts, and the condition of the baby, as well as assess how supportive the home environment is. Counsellors may not be able to correctly identify the root cause(s) of the problems encountered by the mother if the counselling session is done via a phone call without proper examination through a physical meeting. Thus, home visits by counsellors are essential to provide a more comprehensive solution to mothers struggling with breastfeeding issues.
However, when home visits are done, the payment given to counsellors is not consistent. Unfortunately, there are also instances when the community accuses counsellors of being insincere because they charge for home visit services and claim that it is now a profit-oriented business. This negative stigma also reduces the motivation of counsellors to make home visits to help mothers who have problems in breastfeeding. Some certified counsellors are hesitant to ask for fair payment although they are sincere in helping and guiding the mother in her breastfeeding journey, despite not being medical professionals. Considering the rising cost of living, free home visits will inevitably dampen desire, reducing counsellors’ enthusiasm for doing home visits that result in many mothers failing to breastfeed exclusively. Sadly, there are mothers who feel that they have failed to carry out the responsibility of breastfeeding their babies to the point of experiencing depression, suicide and so on.
Therefore, with the services offered by BCNP, the problems mentioned above can be addressed and significantly reduced. Parents to newborns and their support system should not hesitate to choose BCNP because all our counsellors are certified and experienced. They are given ample training opportunities and are highly encouraged to participate in seminars to increase their knowledge. Our counsellors’ ethics are also monitored by lactation experts from the government and private health sectors.
BCNP Logo Meaning :
Human heads in 3 different colours: This symbolises racial diversity in Malaysia whereby, all races are welcome to join BCNP as lactation activists and clients will be attended to regardless of their race and religion.
The roof of a house: This symbolises the main function of BCNP which is to conduct breastfeeding counselling via home visits.
A big heart: A symbol of our love for each other.
The globe: Symbolises the network BCNP has established throughout Malaysia and soon, around the world.