NEWS: First series of workshops in Penang to support confinement centres with essential breastfeeding skills

Mothers are increasingly choosing to spend their traditional confinement after childbirth in confinement centres. These are a new phenomenon but taking on rapidly as the popular choice for confinement care.

The traditional confinement period happens to be the most crucial period for the establishment of breastfeeding. A study conducted by RUMC in 2017-18 found that while most confinement centres’ personnel were supportive of breastfeeding, mothers reported practices suggesting there were knowledge gaps and support could be improved.

In January 2019 we started by inviting all confinement centre personnel in Penang to come for a dialogue session to understand their needs and interest in training. The results of this session were used to develop a one-day interactive educational workshop focusing mainly on breastfeeding skills and hygiene specifically for them. Three such workshops have been successfully conducted so far, on the 10th, 17th and 19th of June 2019.

We had the support of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), Penang State Health Department, paediatricians and lactation consultants from several private hospitals as well as RUMC alumnus, Dr Grace Tay (Class of 2012) who came as one of the trainers.

The response to the workshops was above expectations with 89 participants from 33 centres attending and more asking for further workshops to be held. All participants found the workshop very useful and plan to make changes in their centres.

In November 2019, we plan to interview mothers as we did in 2017-18 to see if this educational intervention has changed mothers breastfeeding and hygiene experiences in confinement centres.

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