Wednesday, October 22, 2008

First-time Father Initiation for Mother Support

Men’s Involvement for Breastfeeding Protection and Promotion
James Achanyi-Fontem, Coordinator – WABA MWG
Preparing to become a first-time father and play fatherhood role from the time of the conception of the partner is exciting and means embarking upon a remarkable adventure. The secrets of fatherhood will be revealed to the first-time family head or parent through the activities of this Men’s Initiative web site “Not for Fathers Only”, as many will be expressing their happiness and the pride of fatherhood.
The challenge is that, not enough is said about paternity, as men are relegated to the position of simple providers. It is the role of the men’s initiative to come up with new models of activities to involve husbands and partners for the effective protection and promotion of mother support for breastfeeding.
New Role
Men await their new born babies for a period of nine months. Within this period, men monitor the pregnancies, though a few attend pre-natal lectures with their partners, and only feel the baby move in the womb with sharing the same bed.
When the baby arrives, their lives change dramatically, and their schedules and homes are turned up side down. The men’s initiative aims at eliminating panic during the pregnancy and delivery preparatory fatherhood period.
Caring for Baby
There is no easy formula for becoming a prefect father or parent. The best way is to participate in caring for the baby. What is important is that the father and mother agree on shared values and anticipate results.
Support for family circle
Support from family and friends have value during the period of adaptation. The father should accept offers of help, by delegating household tasks and meal preparations. Men should protect both the couple’s and family’s intimacy when giving help. One has to be different as parent, which is as a father and mother, because parenting is learned day by day.
Feeding the baby together
During the first six (6) months, breastfeeding is by far the best for a baby. Men can play key roles as partners for the mother and child. A breastfeeding mother needs encouragement, especially when she is going through a difficult period.
Men can assist in shopping, cooking and laundry. Men can learn a lot about their babies by changing her diaper, when it is wet, holding her, rocking her, singing to her, bathing her or simply carrying her to the mother for nursing.
Men should learn how to put the babies on their chest to get them to sleep. All children need reassuring, comforting, physical contact with their fathers. Let the children teach the fathers their role. They do not expect you to be prefect, but to be present.
Men at Work
Men’s involvement and participation can make all the difference in women’s lives due to number factors:
1. Men often decide whether a daughter will get married young or have a chance to complete an education. Early marriage can lead to high risk pregnancy.
2. Men play a key role in deciding how many children the couple will have, and when. These decisions can shape the future of the whole family.
3. Men often make financial decisions and some of the decisions can be a matter of life or death.
4. As political, community and religious leaders, men shape public opinion. Their support for women’s health and well being can affect the care that pregnant women receive.
5. In the absence of a vaccine or cure, men’s behaviour is crucial to preventing the spread of HIV. Women are increasingly at risk.
Importance of fatherhood relationship
While the father-child relationship is different from mother-child relationship, it is very important for both girls and boys. A father often establishes special bond with a new born by playing with her. Such bonds become more important over time.
A father provides a model that is different from that of the mother. He likes to play actively with his child, and is usually stricter and often more inclined to encourage the child to explore her environment and search for independence.
This relationship affects interaction between the child and her peers and adults. However, the mother and father must agree on family rules and their application.
1. Attract attention by inviting politicians and celebrities to make public statements and take a leadership role in promoting men’s involvement in maternal health.
2. Include men in the planning and execution of activities for the promotion and protection of breastfeeding.
3. Organize public contests for posters, essays and plays.
4. Involve men in promoting Gender Equity and Women’s Reproductive Health.
Support the WABA Men’s Initiative by filling the endorsement form at send it to us.Click here to return to the home page

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