Minister highlights support for breastfeeding moms

| 04/08/2011

(CNS): Marking world breast feeding week in the Cayman Islands the health minister has highlighted the support offered locally to encourage mothers to breastfeed. The week lasts from the 1st to 7th August and is used to highlight the importance of breast-milk to the normal growth of babies and its positive impact on the health and well-being of children beyond infancy. Mark Scotland said that breastfeeding is a special, intimate time between a mother and baby, and that a strong support network makes all the difference in mothers being able to feed.

“With the resources of the Internet and mobile phones, connections for support are now much greater than just face-to-face,” he said as he noted this year’s slogan for Breast feeding week – Talk to Me! Breastfeeding – A 3D Experience.

“Research shows that when mothers get breastfeeding help from family, friends, employers and professionals like International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), they resolve questions and problems quicker and become more satisfied with their breastfeeding experience,” Scotland stated in his message. “This in turn helps mothers and babies achieve the significant health benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months. To achieve these goals, breastfeeding families need hands-on and heartfelt support in their local communities.”

The minister said that there were many local resources available to support breastfeeding families. “Each new mother is given an information packet from the Breastfeeding Support Group. They receive a contact list of the members in the group and are encouraged to call them if they have questions or concerns. These volunteers are experienced mothers or health care professionals,” he added.

The Public Health Department also provides free home visits shortly after birth by a community midwife to prevent complications in the early days.

“These days, mothers are also making connections through the Internet. Chat rooms, forums, networks and websites are devoted to connecting mothers with each other to share ideas, frustrations and successes,” Scotland noted. “Social media sites like Facebook give families new means by which to connect over great distances.”

The local Breastfeeding Support Group has a Facebook page, Twitter account and volunteers use Skype to keep in touch with mothers.

The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years and beyond. The act of breastfeeding builds a strong emotional connection between the mother and baby, a bond which lasts a lifetime.

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