One of the most significant things that a mother can give her child is the gift of mother’s milk. Breastmilk is filled with a mother’s natural immunity and is integral in the growth and development of the healthy newborn. Breastfeeding is natural for the infant but for the new mom, it can be a source of anxiety and frustration. Unfortunately, in Bolivia, as in most countries, formula has been introduced and lack of knowledge and convenience can make formula feeding appealing to these mothers, depriving their children of the incomparable gift of mother’s milk and all the benefits that come with it. The role of the nurse in the first 24 hours of life of the newborn is priceless. If she can help the mother be effective in latching on the baby and begin the nursing experience, her chances of success are magnified. Nurses need training in lactation and on Wednesday a group of NICU, mother-baby and pediatric nurses met in a crowded NICU room to review the basics. We discussed the benefits of breastfeeding, the challenges and our roles as nurses in teaching, promoting and ensuring the success for the new moms. We reviewed videos demonstrating a correct latch that ensures milk transfer. The nurses responded with enthusiasm and with a desire to receive the hands-on training that will help them work effectively with the mothers. From there, we went out to the floor to practice with mothers that were eager to learn how to give their babies their “life-giving flow”.
-Lin Beaty, RN