Breastfeeding, Maternal and Newborn Health, The Mom Pod
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#9 – Maternal Health, Breastfeeding and Women’s Rights

In this episode of The Mom Pod, Julia has conversations about innovations and interventions that make a real difference for maternal and newborn health and the linkage to women’s rights with Jerker Liljestrand, Senior Program Officer for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Roger Mathisen, Program Director for Alive & Thrive in Southeast Asia.

At the Women Deliver 2016 conference there was a lot of talk about new innovations that lead development forward to improve maternal, newborn and child health. When asked about what innovations can make a major difference and be brought to scale, Jerker Liljestrand spoke about women’s rights – their freedom, mobility, and having access to information and opportunities for dialogue. Further, Jerker spoke about the work that the Gates Foundation does to improve maternal, newborn and child health around the world, and what impact they have achieved. As an obstetrician and gynecologist with experience from many different parts of the world, he also provided some tips to mothers about how they can demand quality care.

“It’s your pregnancy, it’s your baby, it’s not the hospital’s baby, it’s not the hospital’s pregnancy. You have the right to information and discussion.
Jerker Liljestrand

Breastfeeding is not an innovation, it is a natural process and an intervention that saves lives of children – and women too! Roger Mathisen tells us about the new research laid out in The Lancet’s breastfeeding series from earlier this year, and shares inspirational stories of change that he has participated in bringing about in Vietnam – including new maternity leave legislation that surpasses efforts in many other parts of the world.

“My interest in breastfeeding is rights based and linking it to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination of Women. We all need to come together to advocate for these rights for women and children to breastfeeding.”
Roger Mathisen

Listen to the full episode below, on Soundcloud or iTunes.


In this episode Roger Mathisen speaks about the Alive & Thrive spots that share real information to mothers in Vietnam. Here’s one that we found incredibly informative and inspirational from 2014.


If you are willing and able, please donate and help us continue these important conversations with mothers and experts around the world!


Cover photo credit: UNICEF Ethiopia / J. Ose (Flickr/CC). Somali mothers receive breastfeeding technique lesson at Baby Friendly Space at Kobe refugee camp 15 June 2012. 


A bi-weekly podcast series, produced by Girls' Globe, focusing on issues related to motherhood, babies and maternal health around the world. The podcast highlights a variety of issues important to mothers, fathers and other caregivers ranging from birth practices and cultural beliefs related to pregnancy and childbirth, breastfeeding, postpartum healing and depression, babies development, differences in maternity and paternity benefits, sleep and more! The Mom Pod brings together research, data, hot topics in the media and personal stories and experiences of mothers from around the world to highlight differences - but also to remind us how many things mothers across the globe have in common.

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