‘Breastfed Baby Showcase’ Ends Week of Activities in St. James to Mark Breastfeeding Week

Activities to mark Breastfeeding Week in the parish of St. James culminated on Friday (Sept. 21), with a ‘Breastfed Baby Showcase’ in Sam Sharpe Square.
The event, which was organized by the St. James Health Department in collaboration with the Kiwanis Club of Providence, included a public forum to highlight the importance of breastfeeding during the first six months of the baby’s life.
Nutritionist at the St. James Health Department, Yvonne Davis, told JIS News that public awareness and education is an ongoing task, with a view to increase awareness among first time and repeat mothers, of the benefits of the practice, including the fact that the baby gets all the essential nutrients it needs from the breast milk.
She informed that while women in the parish are encouraged to initiate breastfeeding at birth, the figures often fall down after six weeks. “Most mothers initiate breastfeeding, over 90 per cent, but by six weeks it falls down to 40 to 45 per cent depending on the geographic location,” she said.
Giving reasons for the decline, Ms. Davis pointed to the fact that mothers often have to return to work; lack of family support and/or facilities near the workplace where the baby can be properly nursed; and the lack of will to continue breastfeeding the child.
“But some mothers do try, but they need some support. They need persons who have done it successfully to help these mothers, because some mothers have a lot of challenges,” she noted.
The nutritionist said that the St. James Health Department would continue to heighten awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding, to encourage more women to adopt the practice.
Breastfeeding week was observed islandwide from September 16 to 22 under the theme: ‘Breastfeeding: The first hour- save one million babies’.

JIS Social