This coming week, August 1 -7 2014, marks the 22nd annual World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) launched originally by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA).
This year’s World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) theme asserts the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding. This comes as part of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals # 4 which speaks to reducing child mortality and # 5 improving maternal health.
Exclusive breastfeeding and adequate appropriate complementary feeding are key interventions for improving child survival, potentially reducing deaths among children under five by about 20%. Early and exclusive breastfeeding improves newborn care and reduces neonatal mortality, which contributes to the majority of infant deaths.
Breastfeeding has been shown repeatedly to be the single most effective way to prevent infant death; it plays a major role in children’s health and development, and significantly benefits the health of mothers.
The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) will be observing WBW with an information booth located in the Atrium of the Cayman Islands Hospital August 1st, 4th-7th from 9:30am – 10:30am.
Simone Sheehan, HSA Dietician, is heading up this initiative along 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,” Ms Sheehan said. “In addition to the health benefits, it also 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,” Ms Roffey 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,” Ms 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.”
For more information about World Breastfeeding Week, visit www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org
We will also be appearing on Talk Today [Radio Cayman] on Friday August 1 between 12 noon – 1pm and Daybreak, Cayman 27 on Tuesday August 5th.