Overcoming stress and anxiety around breastfeeding: how home visiting nurses are supporting mothers on applying best practices for optimal growth of the child

Arbëresha has given birth to her third child. Now, her daughter Aria is five months old. She begins to share her story that her other two children were fed with baby formula milk due to fear of lack of enough breast milk. Arbëresha was a little bit nervous and stressed because she believed that she was not making enough breast milk to adequately nourish her baby. When she was first visited by the home visiting nurse in her home, she told the nurse that she is breastfeeding her baby but also giving baby formula milk, only because she was worried that the baby is left hungry. Adelina Puka, a home visiting nurse from Gjakova, after hearing her concerns, immediately advised Arbëresha to continue to breastfeed the baby and stop giving formula milk, as consistently giving breastmilk will get away the fear that the baby is hungry. While she had a great desire to feed the baby with breast milk and she knew very well how important and how much benefits breast milk had for the healthy development of the baby.

Nurse Adelina explains that the fear of mothers that child is left hungry while feeding exclusively with breast milk is in fact very common. These concerns are most common when mothers have anxiety, lack of experience with breastfeeding, or lack of confidence, she says.

Home Visiting modules training enhances the knowledge of nurses and doctors for supporting mothers on breastfeeding practices. Adelina using her skills and the knowledge provided by the training instructed Arbëresha on how to be calm and use breathing techniques to reduce her anxiety and avoid negative thoughts while being alone and solely concentrate on breastfeeding her baby. Also, the home visiting nurse helped the mother to use different sitting positions to be comfortable while breastfeeding the baby. Arbëresha was very satisfied with the advice given the support and care that nurse Adelina had provided her during this difficult period.

The Home Visiting programme for pregnant women and children 0-3 years old is a programme of the Ministry of Health, supported by UNICEF in Kosovo in partnership with Action for Mothers and Children, through financial support of the Government of Luxembourg and is being implemented by Action for Mothers and Children. With two visits delivered throughout pregnancy and five visits for children 0-3 years of age, the Home Visiting programme supports families on applying the best practices for a healthy development of a child, including the regular vaccination, and enables early identification of undiagnosed childhood conditions, developmental delays, and other vulnerabilities. From December 2022, the Home Visiting programme is implemented in all the municipalities of Kosovo.