Breastfeeding Week 2017 - Sustainable Development .jpg Breastfeeding vital to growth and development of healthy children As part of initiatives to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding to the growth and development of healthy children, the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) will collaborate with several local groups on activities to promote breastfeeding during World Breastfeeding Week from August 1-7.The Breastfeeding Support Group and the Beside Manor Store in Camana Bay will once again host their annual “Got Milk” event to promote and discuss breastfeeding in public and other breastfeeding related topics. This event will be held on Friday, 4 August at 3:00pm. The HSA encourages all interested to attend and further take advantage of this informational opportunity.The annual world breastfeeding observance aims to emphasize that breastfeeding is not just a woman’s issue or the sole responsibility of a woman - it affects the planet and its people, and is a responsibility that must be shared by all.This year the global focus of the breastfeeding week are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on four thematic areas: “Environment and climate change”, “Nutrition, food security and poverty reduction”, “Survival, health and wellbeing” and “Women’s productivity and employment”.According to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), breastfeeding has many benefits:* The health of our planet is affected by the way babies are fed. Breastmilk is a renewable food that is produced and delivered without pollution, packaging or waste, thereby contributing to reduction of the carbon footprint.* Breastfeeding also contributes to the reduction of poverty. It is a natural and low-cost way of feeding babies and children that does not burden household budgets compared to artificial feeding and contributes significantly to long-term health.* Breastfeeding is a key contributor to the survival, health and wellbeing of infants. Put simply, it provides babies with the best possible start in life.Simone Sheehan, HSA Dietician strongly advocate that mothers initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of life and extend exclusive breastfeeding into the first six months. Exclusive breastfeeding means the infant only receives breastmilk without any additional food or drink, including water. It provides all the water, high quality nutrients and energy a baby needs and is a means of food security for infants.According to Ms. Sheehan, “Breastfeeding not only significantly improves the health of infants and young children, but improves mental and cognitive development thus promoting learning as well. The experience can also be satisfying and empowering for the mother.”Among the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) being proposed for adoption by UN member countries is the implementation of legislation to support the rights of mothers to breastfeed in public.For more information about Breastfeeding Week activities contact Simone Sheehan at  For further information relating to the Cayman Islands Breast Feeding Support Group individuals can email or call 945 1751.