Health Ministry Seeks Support of Children in Promoting Breastfeeding


Hundreds of exercise books highlighting ways children can support mothers while they breastfeed, were distributed to students of the St. Peter Claver Primary School in Kingston on (Sept. 23).
The exercise books, with front-cover illustrations showing children and other family members completing chores while mother breastfeeds, are the collaborative effort of the Ministry of Health and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Speaking to JIS News at the handing over during the school’s devotional exercise, Public Relations Officer for Health Promotions and Protection in the Ministry, Rowena Palmer, said that children can help in promoting breastfeeding.
“We know children, they are very good at bringing home the message and not only bringing it home but they are usually there when mom breastfeeds, so they need to know that in their own little way, they can support mom,” she stated.
She noted that the St. Peter Claver was selected as it falls under the ‘Change from Within Programme’ in the Ministry of Health, which seeks to promote healthy lifestyles in schools at the primary level.
“St. Peter Claver is one such institution that has been doing very well over the years. I think it is a little incentive for their efforts and encouragement for them to continue the good work so we have started the distribution here but we are going to other schools because the books are really for the children at the primary level,” she said, informing that other schools have been selected for the distribution of the books.
“We are happy that UNICEF and the Ministry have both partnered on this initiative to really bring home the message of support for mom while she breastfeeds,” she added.
Infant and Young Child Feeding Specialist, UNICEF, Kenneth Russell, in providing tips children may use in showing their support to their mom, reminded them that “the breast is still the best.”
“We want you to support mom. We want you to be really quiet when she breastfeeds. We want you to bring her a cup of water or cup of juice, make sure she is comfortable,” he said.
The distribution of the book forms part of National Breastfeeding Week 2010, which is being observed over the period September 19 to 25 under the theme: ‘Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps – the baby friendly way’.
The week’s observation continues to provide an unrivalled opportunity to share critical information related to breastfeeding and also remind persons of the optimal benefits of this lifesaving practice.

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