Breastfeeding is More Than Giving the Milk (ASI)!

Virtual training session Foundation for Mother and Child Health Indonesia with Farida Ayu Erikawati collaborated with USANA Foundation. Thursday, October 8 2020

Based on data from Riskesdas 2018 related to the Proportion of Breastfeeding Patterns for Infants aged 0-5 months, it was found that in Indonesia, the average number of babies who are exclusively breastfedremains low. Exclusively breast feedinga baby meansgiving the baby only breast milk – not adding any food or formula milk (partial) or adding water-based drinks, for example, tea (predominantly). The same research resultsshowed that66% of the reasons for stopping exclusive breastfeedingwere due to low or no production of the breast milk (ASI).

Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to communicate between mother and child, and,for the baby, ASI is the source life. In her presentation, Farida emphasized that breastfeeding is more than just giving the ASI. There is an important process called ‘skin-to-skin’ between mother and the baby. ‘Skin to skin’helps stimulate the process of releasing hormones that supports breastfeeding, calms mother and baby down, regulates the baby’s temperature, stimulatesthe baby’s digestion and interest in eating, controls the baby’s heart rate and respiration, and protects the baby from infection.

Breastfeeding also helps in the process of stimulating love between mother and baby. This is something that cannot be replaced with anything else. Breastfeeding is so valuable mothers must prepare themselves to ensure they are fit and healthy and one of the ways is through the consumption of food and beverages. According to data presented by Farida, breastfeeding mothers need additional energy of around 500kcal/day on top of their usual food consumption. Breastfeeding also increases the mother’s need for water.

Through this zoom training, Farida also explained that when breastfeeding, it is important to pay attention to the breastfeeding position of mother and baby, good latch of the baby, and understanding babies cues i.e., understanding or learning the signs when babies need to feedand sleep.

There are many aspects to breastfeeding that must be considered. It has been confirmed that sometimes mothers feel very tired and may become low in mood or develop anxiety or depression. Even little things sometimes feel so painful for mothers. Thus, explained by Farida, a very supportive environment is needed, specifically from the husband. Research clearly shows that out of 155 mothers who know about breastfeeding, 98% are influenced by their husbands, and if supported well, can be very successful in breastfeeding.

Thefathers’ role in supporting their wives during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum is very important. As well as the father’s role, there are also other determining factors in supporting the success of the breastfeeding process namely: family support, access, and knowledge.

During this training session in collaboration with USANA Foundation, Farida also raised the context of breastfeeding in accordance with the current pandemic situation. Even though we are still in the middle of an uncertain situation, every mother with COVID-19, is still able to breastfeed if they wish to. Of course, full compliance with health protocol is needed, such as wearing a mask whilst breastfeeding, washing hands with soap and water before and after handling the baby, and disinfecting surfaces and objects that are frequently touched by the mother/baby. So, in any situation and at any time, breastfeeding is a very important activity, particularly in the first 1000 days of baby’s life. The real investment (or in Bahasa we called it invest-ASI) for the next generation. (Brg/Comms)