Dr. Benakappa wears many hats. At the Bangalore Medical College she is a Faculty in the Dept of Pediatrics, She is a child specialist at Vani Vilas Hospital, District Coordinator of Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) and Assessor of Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.  

Areas of work: As the District Coordinator of BPNI, Dr. Asha Benakappa organizes their activities in Bangalore. BPNI works toward encouragement and empowerment of women to breastfeed, exclusively until 6 months of age, with complementary feeding until 2 years, thus promoting mother and child health. They train health professionals to provide counseling to mother and their families at the grassroots level. They also work to spread awareness about infant feeding by publishing supporting material and distributing it. They monitor compliance with the Infant Milk Substitute (IMS) Act, and advocate for policies to support breastfeeding. In addition, they encourage research on breastfeeding and related areas, and disseminate these findings.

Dr. Benakappa also works as a child specialist in Vani Vilas Hospital, where she treats the patients (pregnant and lactating mothers, newborn infants and those up to 2 months of age) and educates the mothers on correct lactation and feeding methods. She also counsels them on parenting, contraception and nutrition and distributes related material.

On her own initiative, she has started a Lactation Helpline, where expecting and new mothers can call with doubts on infant feeding, health and other pregnancy-related topics. They can visit her at the Vani Vilas neonatal ward as well, as consultation during her working hours there is free. Here she shows them correct techniques of breastfeeding, using the self-developed Human Lactation Management Training (HLMT) method if necessary (for premature, underweight, ill babies, mother having multiple births, Cesarean sectioned mothers, etc). She uses this helpline to correct myths on breastfeeding, and aims to get all mothers to breastfeed, since all mothers are capable of it.  

Resources to share: Material, both created by BPNI and Dr. Benakappa (she has written a book called “Breastfeeding: The Maternal Instinct”)

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