Early Childhood Studies – a Global Perspective

Exploring the concepts on early childhood studies through the lens of people across the globe

Norway a Role Model to Breasfeeding

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norway-28453_1280More 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.

understanding-breastfeeding-and-how-to-succeedLobbyists 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.

References:

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             Gynecology2(4), 222–231

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Author: pamcee70

My name is Pam Castillo. I have been in the field of education for 24 years now. Although I have taught some levels in grade school, I have spent most of my years teaching children aged two to six years old. I am always amazed by the interactions I have every day with children. In an environment where children feel safe, they are confident to explore and make discoveries. These experiences prepare them for the bigger challenges in the future. I feel privileged to be a part of the learning journey of these young children especially if they still come to see me and reminisce the years we worked together.

4 thoughts on “Norway a Role Model to Breasfeeding

  1. Hi Pam,
    I find the information you found about Norway’s breast feeding system so interesting. I know at our center we are in conjunction with the hospital are for hospital employees so mothers get opportunities to come over through out the day because we are right on campus. Unfortunately I have seen and heard of mothers who feel forced to transition their child over to formula sooner than they had wanted due to lack of support and time from their employer. I feel the U.S. can learn a lot from the way Norway supports new mothers.

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    • That is true, it is hard to implement something without a solid support from the government. My country is definitely still very far behind the development of support for families and parents. I wish the government realizes the importance of investing in families if they want a country that will have a strong workforce and stable development in the future. Everything starts from infancy, I think.

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  2. Wow, I did not know Norway was so breastfeeding friendly. I’ve never been there but now I kind of want to after reading your post. With my second child I found it difficult to continue breastfeeding once I returned to work because taking a break to pump took me out of production which the bosses frowned upon. Being able to take a 2 hour break to nurse would be outstanding! Great post.

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    • For many years, I have been working with Norwegian families at our school. I made a few friends and they talked about some of their practices in Norway, particulary the government support for families. When I finally researched about a certain aspect of their policy on families and working parents, I was very impressed. It works well that their population is quite small, and homogenous. Although they have advantanges in these aspects, I think there are still many things to learn from them.

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