To drive home the advantages and raise awareness, campaign representatives are making orientation visits at various nurseries.
The medical fraternity has observed that babies who experience regular skin-to-skin contact are more interactive with their mothers and generally cry less, according to research compiled by the Cochrane Collaboration. This is because skin-to-skin contact increases the levels of a “feel good” chemical called oxytocin. This translates into better learning and growth, since a calmer baby is more observant and responsive to the world around him. This calming effect also manifests in the baby’s smoother heartbeat and regular breathing, while its sugar levels and temperature simultaneously stabilize.
Dr Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Director of the Executive Committee of the Sharjah Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign expounded on these advantages: “The emotional benefits of breastfeeding are doubly irresistible when one considers that they are not just restricted to the baby, but extend to the mother too. For instance the feel-good chemical can positively influence the mother’s feelings towards her baby and partner as well. This makes breastfeeding a truly “win-win-win” scenario for the baby, the mother and the mother’s partner or family. As a bonus, this feel-good chemical diminishes the baby’s pain during medical procedures.”
Studies also reveal that if the baby is breastfed immediately after birth for at least an hour, it is more likely to latch on better and suckle in a breast-friendly way – which in turn means the mother can avoid sore nipples. However, campaign representatives were quick to point out that mothers should not judge how much milk they have simply by squeezing the breast or pumping, because only good latching can reveal the proper milk flow.
Representatives of the Sharjah Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign will propound these benefits during orientation visits to nurseries which include Al Zahraa, Wasit, Al Shaimaa, The Future, Sharjah Typical and College of Technology. Other institutions being visited include the Department of Social Services, Department of Human Resources, Mega Mall, Sahara Mall, Environmental and Natural Reserves Committee, Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the ladies club Administration.
On the flip side, babies who are deprived of skin-to-skin contact for prolonged periods suffer profound stress. This is because they have not yet learned that this separation is only temporary. Such babies cry approximately ten times more, and their bodies start to shut down to conserve energy. This suppresses their heartbeat, breathing, temperature, digestion and – most alarmingly of all – their growth.
Dr Al Ghazal summed it up by rhetorically asking: “Since breastfeeding releases the same feel-good chemical as in massages and other pleasures, why wouldn’t any mother want to feel good? You’re not just feeding the baby milk, but also feeding it joy.”
Thursday, May 24- 2012 @ 14:22 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.