Babies’ survival and health depends on breastfeeding

| 31/07/2014

(CNS): As health officials prepare to mark the 22nd annual World Breastfeeding Week they are reminding mums and mums to be of the numerous benefits and protections offered by feeding babies as nature intended. This year's theme focuses on increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. Breastfeeding can improve child survival by about 20% experts say, and as well as improving newborn care it reduces neonatal mortality, which contributes to the majority of infant deaths. In short, it has been shown repeatedly to be the single most effective way to prevent infant death.

But aside from keeping babies alive it plays a major role in a child's health and development, and significantly benefits the health of mothers.

Simone Sheehan, the HSA's Dietician, is heading up the initiatives in Cayman to mark the week which starts on 1 August, including a booth at the hospital, in conjunction with the Women’s Health Centre and the Cayman Islands Breastfeeding Support Group.

“We will have HSA midwives and Public Health Nurses available at the booth to hand out information and to answer any questions about breastfeeding,” Ms Sheehan said.  “This year’s theme is Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life with the purpose of increasing awareness and the many benefits to breastfeeding. When mothers are able, we encourage breastfeeding as the first option over formula, as there are many health benefits for both the mother and the baby,” Sheehan said, adding that it helps build a strong bond between mother and child.

The Cayman Islands Breastfeeding Support Group is also a stakeholder in this initiative offering on-going support for breastfeeding mothers in the local community.

Annie Mae Roffey, a volunteer at the Breastfeeding Support Group, said she is looking forward to this year’s activities scheduled throughout the week.  “In addition to the informational booth, we will be hosting a Breastfeeding Café social event which is open to the public and specifically mothers who are breastfeeding fathers and their babies,” she said.

The Breastfeeding Café will be held at the Family Resource Centre [located in the Cayman Compass Centre, Shedden Road] on Monday August 4th from 12 noon until 2pm.

“This is a great opportunity for breastfeeding mothers to get together and discuss their personal experiences and exchange ideas,” .Roffey said.  “The Family Resource Centre also has a breastfeeding room with an electric pump available to mothers who may need a private place to feed or pump, which is convenient for working mothers who need some privacy during the workday.”

The world breast feeding week was originally launched by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA).  The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) will be observing the week from 1-7 august and the information booth is located in the Atrium of the Cayman Islands Hospital and wil be open from 9:30am – 10:30am.

For more information about World Breastfeeding Week, visit or

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