Alive & Thrive supported six provinces in organizing eight breastfeeding events in August 2013 as part of World Breastfeeding Week. This year’s theme was Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers. Each event attracted 80-200 pregnant women, mothers, and caregivers with their young children and featured musical performances, contests, presentations by health professionals, and on-site counseling. Women also shared their breastfeeding experiences. Bich Lien, a 23-year-old TV broadcaster, said, “Breastfeeding makes my baby healthier and less likely to get sick. It also helped me get quickly back into shape after childbirth.”
At the event Thuy, a mother from Tam Tien, Nui Thanh, also told the audience of her experience in raising her two children. Both children weighed 3 kg at birth but the first one was not exclusively breastfed and gained weight slowly. Thuy’s mother-in-law had advised her to introduce other foods at an early age. When Thuy was pregnant with her second child, she went to the Tam Tien commune health center for counseling on breastfeeding. She decided to exclusively breastfeed her second baby for six months. “My family and I are very happy because my second child is healthy and is gaining weight as he should. Older people worried about insufficient breastmilk, but I am not worried. I learned from the counselor at the franchise and found out for myself that that the more I breastfeed, the more milk I produce.”
As an extension of Alive & Thrive’s advocacy work to elevate nutrition among provincial leaders, representatives from the People’s Committee and People’s Council attended and gave opening speeches at the events, which were covered in the media, including a live broadcast on Thanh Hoa’s provincial television channel. In addition to the events, A&T collaborated with UNICEF and the Center for Health Education (MOH) to organize a field trip to five provinces for reporters from Viet Nam Television (VTV) and several key newspapers to observe infant and young child feeding counseling services at the Mat Troi Be Tho franchises and to visit lactation rooms at business enterprises. The visits resulted in two TV reports and more than 30 published articles.