More than thirty years after bottle-feeding became a trend, Norway has revived the practice of breastfeeding. The success of its implementation nationwide is demonstrated in the high rate of practice, with approximately 99% of the new mothers breastfeed their children while at the hospital and at least 88% continue six months later. Support is always available for those who are having challenges in breastfeeding. The success of promoting breastfeeding amongst new mothers is largely attributed to the support the family and health policies in Norway. Their social progressive thrust and stable economic status enable them in extensively educate women regarding the benefits of breastfeeding. Women who have just given birth can take a ten-moth maternity leave with full pay or a twelve-month leave with 80% pay benefit. Nursing mothers who are working are allowed to have a two-hour break to breastfeed their babies. In addition, aside from designated places for breastfeeding, mothers are allowed to breastfeed anywhere – from cafes to buses and office working desks. Advertising of formula milk is banned to dissuade its use. With the different support systems available to nursing mothers and their families, Norway has ranked first in breastfeeding.
Lobbyists played a big role in the revival of breastfeeding in Norway. Back in the 1970’s, a Norwegian mother, Elisabet Helsing was inspired by a book written by the Leche to write her book on nursing. She created a pamphlet and sought the help of an official from the Ministry of Health to print it for public distribution. This official was at the time pregnant with her fourth child and has just finished her Masters on the decline of breastfeeding at Harvard. The timely meeting of like-minded people made a significant impact of the revolutionizing of breastfeeding Norway.
It takes a few people who have the passion for health and wellness of mothers and babies to spark the drive to promote breastfeeding. Although Norway is a well-resourced and developed country, the initiative that Elisabet Helsing can be emulated even in the developing nations. I hope that in my way, I will find means to educate mothers so they will not lose the experience that my daughter and I missed out twenty years ago.
Alvarez, L. (October 21, 2003). Norway Leads Industrial Nations Back to Breasfeeding. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/21/world/norway-leads- industrial-nations-back-to-breast-feeding.html
The Department of Health. (May 3, 2012). Norway – The WHO Code and Breastfeeding: An International Comparative Overview. Australian Government Department of Health. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/int-comp- whocode-bf-init~int-comp-whocode-bf-init-ico~int-comp-whocode-bf-init-ico-norway
Stuebe, A. (2009). The Risks of Not Breastfeeding for Mothers and Infants.Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2(4), 222–231