Local activities for World Breastfeeding Week 2017 held Sept. 3-8

From the Ministry of Health

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), which is calendared annually from Aug. 1-7, is celebrated worldwide. However, due to emancipation holidays celebrated in most Caribbean countries during the first week of August, the Health Promotion Unit (Nutrition Surveillance Program) and the In-service Education Department at J.N.F. General Hospital will be collaborating to celebrate the event Sept. 3-8.

Under this theme, the following activities will be carried out:

Sunday, Sept. 3: Church service, Antioch Baptist Church

Monday Sept. 4: Presentations at J.N.F classroom

  • Assessment results of baby friendly hospital audit
  • International code of marketing of breast-milk substitutes

Tuesday, Sept. 5: Breast Feeding discussions (community-based facilities, Institution-based facilities and non-government facilities)

Wednesday, Sept. 6: Breastfeeding video broadcasting on Booking Day at Outpatient Department, J.N.F. General Hospital

  • Baby crawl video
  • Benefits of breastfeeding
  • Baby friendly hospitals success stories
  • Signs of good breastfeeding

Thursday, Sept. 7: Breast feeding education on the streets of St. Kitts (Stop and Talk).

Friday, Sept. 8: Presentations at J.N.F classroom:

  • Practical demonstrations on Breastfeeding techniques facilitated by Nurse Ruth Connor.

Optimal breastfeeding practices benefit all mothers and children, regardless of where they live or level of economic well-being. Exclusive breastfeeding, in particular, is considered the cornerstone of child survival and health. It not only provides all the nutrients necessary for growth for the first six months of life, but also protection from many childhood life-threatening diseases and some noncommunicable diseases later in life. Breastfeeding contributes to child development, educational achievement and economic wellbeing.

Despite its numerous breastfeeding benefits, today´s world is not a supportive environment for women to breastfeed. To raise awareness and contribute to change that, this year´s theme of World Breastfeeding Week, is "Together we can make breastfeeding sustainable.”

When we think about breastfeeding, we relate it to the mother and her baby. However, effective breastfeeding depends on a collective effort as the reasons why a woman does not breastfeed her baby are many. Therefore, we all have a role to play, from family members to policy makers.

For too long, breastfeeding has been viewed as a personal issue rather than a collective societal responsibility. However, breastfeeding practices are influences by factors beyond their reach. For example, such as when women face obstacles because of limited or nonexistent maternity protection and relentless marketing by the breast-milk substitute industry.

In the region, fewer than 32 percent of the infants are exclusively breastfed within the first six months of life. This regional rate hides progress in specific countries, some of which have made considerable progress in increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates. It also hides the challenge of others who show little or no progress. Collective work at all levels could speed up the change needed to make real the right of every infant to be breastfed and every woman’s right to breastfeed.