case study_SAMAS Observator

Breastfeeding, or better said, its absence, has become an alarming problem in Romania, in the last few years. Despite all the recommendations of physicians and international health organisations, which constantly highlight the benefits of breast milk for newborns, Romania still has the lowest rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the European Union: only 12% of the children are exclusively breastfed during the first 6 months of their life, as the WHO recommends. In comparison, the next lowest rate of exclusive breastfeeding in Europe is 53% in Ireland, still much higher than in Romania.

Breastfeeding is not as easy as it seems; this is not a fairy tale. Women are likely to encounter a series of difficulties in the first few days or weeks after birth, which makes them give up easily. But the main reason for this problem is the lack of both theoretical and practical information. Over time, the fathers’ role in the success of breastfeeding has been underestimated or even completely ignored. But men may have a greater influence than one would expect on a matter which doesn’t seem to be their business: the women who have an informed and supportive partner, one who participates in training courses for daddies and supports the new mothers in those critical moments in which they are tempted to wean babies, breastfeed for a longer period of time than those who do not have a supportive partner that stands by them.

Considering all of the above, during the International Week of Breastfeeding, together with SAMAS Association – the only national network of perinatal educators – we started a unique campaign in which we have involved only men – Daddies make a difference!. The aim of the campaign was to show that daddies can make the difference and can support the mothers’ effort in providing healthy food for babies to boost their immunity.

Hence, we started the first national survey revealing what men think and know about breastfeeding and how involved they are in family decisions on breastfeeding and caring for children. The results were spectacular: if in the past, breastfeeding was considered a taboo which concerned only the mother and the baby, things have changed lately – approximately 4 of 10 men would breastfeed if they could, and more than 50% watch the mother breastfeeding whenever they have the opportunity. However, very few men (2 of 10) join perinatal courses in an institutional framework.

To underscore the important role of daddies, pregnant women from Bucharest and all over the country who had come accompanied by a partner or another male person to the International Week of Breastfeeding have received free courses at SAMAS Association.

The topic caught the journalists’ attention and the campaign generated wide coverage in the national and local press, in all types of media – TV, radio, print and online. Realitatea TV, one of the most influential national news channels, and Antena 1 have covered this topic in prime time. Cristian China Birta (chinezu.ro), one of the most influential bloggers, who is also a father, dedicated an article to the campaign, highlighting the father’s role in all decisions about breastfeeding, along with other celebrities who are mothers – Eli Roman and Emma Zeicescu. This topic has been debated in the most influential news portals: evz.ro, adevarul.ro, realitatea.net, romanialibera.ro. The campaign reached over 7 million people.

case study SAMAS_Adevarul case study_SAMAS_Mediafax