“Being breastfed is a fundamental right for children, while being supported while breastfeeding is a right for mothers. This was stated by the Undersecretary of State for Health, Hon. Marcello Gemmato, as he opened the work of the IV National Conference on breastfeeding, held on 4 July at the Ministry of Health. “Today more than ever – added Gemmato – it is necessary to invest in a new culture of breastfeeding and since the benefits are now known for both mother and child, preventive actions and positive effects must be implemented through wide-ranging initiatives radius”.
The Conference represented a moment of discussion for all operators in the sector and stakeholders. The reports showed that breastfeeding is now considered an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, capable of reducing costs not only for families, but also for society and for the National Health Service. It is therefore necessary to work to encourage and defend this natural practice through a series of safeguards.
The comparison highlighted how breastfeeding is capable of offering a wide range of positive effects also from a psychological point of view, facilitating and strengthening the mother’s awareness of her own needs and those of the newborn. For this reason it must be promoted without hesitation even in women with depressive or anxiety antecedents, strengthening the support of assistance and care services for perinatal mental health.
The speeches underlined the need to promote the diffusion of a new culture through a multi-professional approach, free from rigid and prejudicial attitudes and based on effective verification of how women live the experience de facto. The training of healthcare personnel must therefore be oriented not only towards the acquisition of skills in promoting breastfeeding, but also towards the ability to identify and report any situations of mental distress in women during the perinatal phase. Furthermore, the support of the school must not be lacking, which can certainly represent a cultural center that promotes health behaviors to make children and parents aware of this type of natural practice.
Finally, a focus on the donation and use of donated human milk has shown the importance of encouraging this type of practice as well. Appropriate use of donor human milk promotes health, leads to significant savings, and raises awareness of the value of breastfeeding. The donor milk banks therefore prove to be strategic and at the same time more sustainable than the traditional welfare costs.