Saturday, April 18, 2015

Caretakers' rights to support what is best for their family

Dear Friends:

I just attended the CORE Group meeting near DC with hundreds of representatives from NGOs that work around the world. The good news is that since I last attended, about 15 years ago, breastfeeding has become a normative part of general thinking. The sad part is that it seems that resources have shifted pretty much to complementary feeding without much mention of the vital importance of supporting continued breastfeeding for health, nutrition and for extended LAM use.
Let's get the word out that there is no complementary feeding without well established exclusive then continued breastfeeding AND that parental understanding of cues and responsive feeding is mandatory for child and adult health, nutrition and development.  I truly believe, based on evidence and experience, that we must support  women and families to do what is possible rather than exhort them to do what is not sustainable.

Optimally,  mothers, fathers and other caretakers are involved in the life of the child, actively responding positively to infant cues and young child needs. This begins to address the rights of the child. But to succeed in this, and to fulfill this responsibility, parents and caretakers have the right to support for the time and the means to be there for the child.  We need to push for paid parental leave and for adequate livelihoods globally.