This project addresses the problem of a lack of institutional support for women during natal and lactation care in Poland. More than half of mothers stop breastfeeding with six weeks of giving birth. The decision to stop breastfeeding is often due to information and support not being part of the care provided by the National Health Fund. As many as 45% of mothers who tell paediatricians that they have insufficient milk are advised to use formula for additional feeding. Mothers who take medication are often advised to stop breastfeeding even when there is no need. Meanwhile, women who breastfeed for a long time are criticised in doctors’ surgeries. This shows that medical personnel not only have out-of-date information on lactation and treating breastfeeding women, but also that they are guided by stereotypes when giving medical advice.
Under the project, the Project Promoter will monitor the quality of natal care, in particular care in relation to lactation, based on information from the National Health Fund and women’s postnatal experiences. The monitoring findings will be presented in a report. A number of women will be given legal aid in defending their rights. The Project Promoter will also hold 24 webinars for parents and lectures for medical students on medical topics such as natal care, female patients’ rights, lactation, etc. At the same time, the Project Promoter will conduct an Internet information campaign. It will also petition the Ministry of Health for changes including making specialist lactation advice reimbursable, and true implementation of the Natal Care Standards.
Primarily, women – mothers of small children – will benefit. Some measures are intended for a larger portion of the public, such as medical students or personnel. There will be increased public awareness of female patients’ rights to natal and lactation care, including to accurate information and high-quality medical care based on up-to-date scientific information.