South Sudan has been ranked the most fragile country on earth for the past two years. On a recent trip to remote Warrap State, I witnessed targeted Canadian investments improving the health of moms and babies. There are long-term, sustainable efforts to strengthen the health system taking root in South Sudan that go above and beyond much-needed emergency relief -- and they are paving the way for a better tomorrow.
To all new and expecting mothers Tara encourages you to: "Get connected. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to carry a mother so don't be afraid to reach out to someone walking the same journey. We can walk together because our children need us to be the best mothers that we can possibly be."
According to the World Health Organization, exclusive breastfeeding is the optimal way of feeding babies for the first six months of their lives. Breast milk is packed with nutrients that a newborn needs to grow strong and healthy, and fight off illness and infection. In regions where water sources are often contaminated and medical clinics are few and far between, nothing beats breastfeeding. Yet women giving birth in one of the world's poorest regions must often overcome immense obstacles to breastfeed.
Have you heard this before? Are you a dedicated breast-feeder to a toddler or older child? If so, you are not alone. I see many women in my office each week who continue to breastfeed their toddlers, sometimes while also nursing younger babies. Women who breastfeed "older" children are often stigmatized and looked at as strange.
The major problem with negative attitudes toward breastfeeding is simply the lack of exposure to it and not understanding how difficult it truly is. There are quite a few common misunderstandings about breastfeeding and majority of them you can't truly understand unless you've attempted to breastfeed or watched someone close to you attempt to breastfeed
There's no question breastfeeding has its challenges. From the shape of mom's nipples to the neck rotation of the baby, it all has an impact. But I never knew what would kill our breastfeeding relationship would go undetected for so long, although it was right under my nose. Or rather my baby's nose.
I was one of those women who proudly proclaimed, "I bottle fed my kids and they're all fine." And they are fine. The thing is though, now that I work as a postpartum nurse, a great percentage of my time on the unit is spent teaching and assisting new moms. And I get breastfeeding now. I totally could have rocked this gig. But I didn't because I was too tired.
Well done. Any wayward young girl or new mother who considers you a role model may now elect not to breastfeed her child. All because of your inaccurate, uneducated, misguided and -- truly -- disgusting sentiments about what is one of the most loving, selfless and beautiful relationships a mother can have with her baby.
Some things I remember clearly about the first days after my sons were born. I was zapped, emotional and incredibly vulnerable. So I can't imagine having a document thrust at me that essentially guilt-trips me into swearing that I will breastfeed my newborns or else risk exposing them to "significant illness and disease."