I am a midwife, childbirth educator, lecturer, doula, and natural mother of eight children. This is not a medical reference; I do not proclaim to give medical advice. Anything stated here is from personal experience, research, study, and opinion. Each woman has the responsibility to do her own research, consult with her own medical team, and make her own decisions about pregnancy and birth.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Getting Involved in Breastfeeding Awareness

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
 © 2001 Harvey Nelson, Courtesy of Photoshare

I've been participating in a lot of pregnancy and birth education activities over the past few weeks, alhamdulelah.  The topics have been varied but they all have touched on breastfeeding.  

Even though they are unrelated classes, each one is building upon the last to broaden my understanding of the culture of breastfeeding, as well as giving me important information to help mothers who suffer difficulty feeding.  Allah is the best of planners and it is becoming clear to me that this is an issue I need to get more involved with, subhan'Allah.

Please get in touch with me if you are interested in finding out more about how you could get involved in breastfeeding or natural birth education and awareness.  Now on to the post...Getting Involved in Breastfeeding Awareness...

My own breastfeeding experience with my eight children was fairly straightforward, alhamdulelah.  I successfully nursed each one without much difficulty or need for help.  However, I realize that some women do struggle. 

The other day,  my husband made a comment to me that made me realize the importance of having the father's support when deciding to feed our babies.  Because of this I wrote an article on Saudi Life about the Husband's Role in Breastfeeding.  

Next I attended a doula meeting in Dubai.  The topics varied from pregnancy to postpartum support for expectant mothers. I was extremely familiar with all of the material presented, until we hit breastfeeding.  I was taking notes and was inspired with a lot of great ideas for my childbirth education classes that touch on infant feeding.

During our drive home from that meeting I began reading A Fading Art: Understanding Breast-Feeding in the Middle East by Dr. Modia Batterjee of the Jeddah Al Bidayah Center, a breastfeeding support center.  I absolutely love the first chapter as it depicts the culture of breastfeeding in Saudi Arabia in an easy-to-read story format.  It is also available at Jarir Bookstore here in Saudi.

But the best thing is a breastfeeding counselor training that I am currently attending.  Up until now, I've never specifically been trained on the subject of infant feeding and how to assess, recognize, and correct problems often experienced by new mothers.  

Once the class finishes we will have seven new counselors in Riyadh, insha'Allah.  We will be working closely together to educate and reach women in our area with the important information we are learning.  The class is being conducted in Riyadh by Anne Batterjee, an international leader in many breastfeeding organizations. 
Amazingly, yesterday I heard from my dear friend and fellow blogger, Roa Altaweli.  Considering there are never coincidences in Allah's plans, I find it no surprise, yet still incredible, that she recently wrote about her research into Breastfeeding in Saudi Arabia, masha'Allah. The article is very well documented and gives tons of resources into the importance of breastfeeding and the hospital's role in helping mother's establish nursing very early on.  

Please check out Roataw's Blog.  She is currently studying midwifery in the UK and will be bringing her skills to work in Jeddah when she's done, insha'Allah.  I'm anticipating her return and I know she will be a great contributor to the natural birth and breastfeeding culture in Saudi!

There is a lot of work to be done in Saudi, the Middle East, and globally in terms of natural birth and infant feeding.  Please contact me if you'd like to find a way to get involved.

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