There are many known benefits to breastfeeding.
A quick search on the Internet will show all the wonderful effects of breastfeeding for your baby. Breastfeeding provides more than just nutrition. It is not just feeding – but nurturing, caring, providing, everything in one.
According to UNICEF, breastfeeding provides many benefits:
1. It is the safest food for babies. It also helps prevent diseases and death.
2. It benefits the Mother.
3. It improves the bond between Mother and Baby (by providing vital skin to skin contact).
Yet, did you know that only 32.2% of babies in Malaysia are breastfed exclusively in Malaysia (‘exclusive’ means they’re only fed breast milk, no mixing with formula, water, or other types of food).
Majority reason people have not been breastfeeding for reasons such as:
1) Going back to work,
2) The convenience of baby formula,
4) Baby preferring milk formula,
5) inadequate knowledge.
However, we are happy to inform you that the trend is changing. 2 reasons that we identified are:
1) Longer Maternity Leave
Did you know that the Malaysia government is encouraging parents to take more time to spend growing the family unit. As society prospers, the government realised the importance of the family unit. A healthy family unit brings many good values and virtues to society. In order to encourage that, we are seeing an increase in longer maternity leave.
This is in both the public and private sectors. Although it is not compulsory (or widely enforced) yet, but many potential parents are entering into the workplace factoring maternal leave benefits. You can see many companies such as Nestle (Malaysia), Digi, CIMB, etc are already offering better maternal benefits. Some companies even offer Nanny Services for employees. This is definitely a step up and companies are beginning to see the value in retaining good employees.
2) Increase help from the community
With the increase use of social media, Mothers are also taking the platform to share about their journey. Groups such as Human Milk For Human Baby Malaysia (HM4HB) has led the charge in sharing about the importance of breastfeeding. With the community and shared sense of doing this together, mothers has been increasing turning to social media for information such as where to breastfeed, how to breastfeed. And these have made it increasing easy for Mothers with the same sense of mission to come together. Maybe in our next article, we will feature groups that Mothers can seek community and advices from.
“Breastfeeding promotes healthier mums, babies and thus, healthier societies; but if we’re really serious about reaping the benefits, we must also be willing to make the sacrifice to help breastfeeding mothers perform this invaluable act of love for their children without any hindrance from those around her.”