Hi my name is Tina Lutzen. For my internship at WABA I will prepare a research study on the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and its status in Penang. For this study I have planned to attend breastfeeding classes held by mother support groups and interview various key persons such as doctors, coordinators of mother support groups and mothers in Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
It has been very interesting to attend the breastfeeding classes and especially to meet the mothers to be with and hear their questions and feelings about breastfeeding. At one breastfeeding class I was introduced to the coordinators and I have since interviewed them on their work for mothers and on their effort to link up with hospitals to reach out to mothers who has just delivered.
I am very glad that Dr. Pong and Dr. Balkees agreed to let me interview them and not least to show me around the maternity ward of their hospitals. Dr. Pong is a pediatrician at the Adventist Hospital, a private and baby friendly hospital. It was very helpful to hear Dr. Pong tell about the process of becoming baby friendly and I was thrilled to see the maternity ward and in particular its implementation of the “Ten Steps for Successful Breastfeeding”.
Dr. Balkees is a pediatrician at Pantai Hospital, a private but not baby friendly hospital. Her story is different from Dr. Pong, here the hospital refuses to become baby friendly and the interview with her gave me great insight in the challenges of achieving a baby friendly status without support. At their maternity ward, I was overwhelmed about the different approach to babies and mothers compared to the Adventist Hospital. I was moved to see 10-15 newborn babies lying alone in their beds only warmed by a wrapping blanket or a heating light and with no mothers in sight. These different experiences has convinced me that more work is needed to support hospitals in achieving a baby friendly status in order to provide babies and mothers the best start.