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Caring for Mothers Improves their Chances of Successful Breastfeeding
On the eve of the World Breastfeeding Support Week, we bring you an interview with Dinara Urmanova, an independent breastfeeding consultant, a happy mother of three children and a successful entrepreneur.
- How did breastfeeding specialist or lactation specialist become your professional topic?
- I came to this decision through my own experience. My oldest son recently turned 10. I did not think about breastfeeding until he was born. After his birth, I received a lot of harmful advice and I faced many problems as a result of following this advice. I realized that one has to listen to one’s own intuition.
I went online and began to search for answers to my questions; I received online advice from consultants who specialized in breastfeeding, and I managed to solve my problems. I began to share my knowledge with mothers I knew, and that helped many mothers. Over time, I realized that I would like to counsel mothers. I knew how to communicate information well and I had rich personal experience with three children.
I learned that there is an opportunity to undertake a WHO certified course for consultants. I took several courses at the Research Institute of Pediatrics. In practice, I had experienced the knowledge, because I was also a breastfeeding mother. I took online courses for breastfeeding consultants, offered by “Azbuka Mam” (“ABC for Mothers”), a St. Petersburg based organization, which is approved by the Association of Natural Nutrition Consultants.
Over the years of consulting I have counselled hundreds of individuals, and I’ve replied to thousands of phone calls or online messages from mothers. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to help children get what is the best for them, help their mothers calm down, start breastfeeding and live a full life.
- What common misconceptions about breastfeeding do you encounter in your practice?
- One such misconception is the belief that the baby "must" sleep without waking up for 3-4 hours in a row, that he or she has to eat a certain number of times for 15-20 minutes in each case, and that they should otherwise lie calmly and alone in their own bed. Infants do not owe anything to anyone; each of them is an individual. Moreover, physiology and lactation processes do not work that way. For a baby, breastfeeding is not just food. Do not try to calculate whether he/she is hungry or not, or why he/she asks for breasts more or less often. You should give your baby the opportunity to control the process. Only then will he or she receive what he or she needs and when he or she needs it. It is not complicated given that the mother herself wants to establish breastfeeding, and her family and friends support her decision.
Another misconception is compulsory weaning. Many people think that it is necessary to wrap up the chest tightly, or apply Brilliant Green (Hydrogen sulfate, antiseptic medicine)on the nipples; in other words, they think it is necessary to inflict pain on themselves and the child. However, self-weaning is a process which goes smoothly and without stress if one continues breastfeeding on the baby’s demand.
- What are the common causes of the loss of breastfeeding?
- The notorious “the milk is gone” happens when babies cry and mothers start using small bottles and baby soothers, and start giving water, thinking that the baby is “not getting enough milk”. Initially, the level of prolactine is high. Months later, the mechanism of producing the breast milk changes and is determined by the mother's calmness, and the amount (frequency?) of breastfeeding. Mothers think that “the milk is gone” and they rush to introduce infant formula. This is often forced by outside advice.
Breastfeeding is also a job. Successful breastfeeding as well as confronting the obsolete concepts requires solid knowledge.
- What would be your main message on occasion of the World Breastfeeding Support Week?
- First of all, I am for the support of mothers. If a woman is surrounded by care and attention, she will always have the strength and desire to adjust to breastfeeding, and it will come to her more easily and will even bring joy. Taking care of the mother means caring for the child.