Some Ideas for the Role
of General Practitioners in Protecting Breastfeeding
GPs are the first contacts for all patients
are family confidantes
relied upon for
every little problem (medical and non-medical)
influence on patients and thus society is very
influence can be put to many positive uses
of which is promotion and protection of breastfeeding.
have a responsibility to the society just as
all other health professionals
exercised to not only treat, but also prevent
can prevent mortality in 1.5 million infants
world wide every year by preventing diarrheal
deaths, and those due to respiratory infections.
It prevents malnutrition in infants especially
in third world countries and poor households
where nutritious food supplements are scarce.
What can GPs do?
a) Learn about benefits of breastfeeding,
through books, seminars and lactation management
b) Commit themselves to talking with all expectant
and new mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding,
c) Encourage their patients to deliver in
baby friendly hospitals.
d) Keep booklets on breastfeeding published
by acash in all four languages and distribute
them freely among mothers
costs only Rs. 5/-
e) Discourage the use of bottles in households
by outlining the harms of bottle-feeding like
diarrhea, otitis media, respiratory infections,
malnutrition, risk of allergies etc.
f) Give tips to working mothers on continuing
breastfeeding such as extension of maternity
leave, expression of breastmilk for the baby,
use of complementary foods instead of bottle
feeding from 4 months of age, keeping the
baby in a crèche close to workplace
wherever available. Make mothers aware of
their rights to maternity leave and breastfeeding
g) Discourage mothers from using expensive
milk formula for infant feeding
cost poor households nearly 50% of their income.
After 6 months animal milk can be safely fed
with a spoon in addition to complementary
h) Display breastfeeding posters, and charts
that give key messages on breastfeeding in
bold print, in their clinics.
i) Refer women with breastfeeding problems
(that they may sometimes be unable to handle)
to mother support leaders, or pediatricians.
j) Treat breastfeeding as an important subject
and give as much importance to a mother with
breastfeeding problems as they would give
to an ill patient.
Dear Dr. Oza
You may modify this or add
some ideas of your own. Regards. Sailesh
to Support Breastfeeding