JIS News

Consultant Paediatrician with the Ministry of Health, Dr. Basil Robinson, says the frequency with which children suffer from infections and other ailments, depends on how much they are breastfed.
“Babies that are breastfed have less diarrheal episodes in the first year of life, and less respiratory symptoms. The illness of your child, how sick your child will be; there is an inverse relationship between breastfeeding and illness,” Dr. Robinson told the launch of Breastfeeding Week at the Mandeville Regional Hospital, on Tuesday (September 21).
“Babies who are breastfed have fewer illnesses of all types in the first year of life, when compared to formula fed (babies). Protection against illnesses makes breastfeeding the way to go, and this type of feeding is simple and safe for not only the mother, but for the baby, as the breast milk is easy to digest and provides all the nutrients and minerals the baby needs,” he explained.
Dr. Robinson argued that breastfeeding contributes to weight control in mothers, helps in their emotional state after birth delivery, and those mothers who exclusively breastfeed for long periods of time delay fertility and can reduce the incidence of uterine cancer.
Director of Nutrition at the Ministry of Health, Sharmaine Edwards, said parents must give their children the best start in life, by breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months.
“This means learning to express breast milk to ensure adequate supplies, when they are away from home, knowing how to store breast milk safely for use later and understanding when and how to add family foods after the six completed months,” she told her audience.
She called for breastfeeding to become a part of the everyday culture for Jamaicans.
“This practice is ensuring the well-being of our children and families, and nurturing the development of a healthy, productive population for the future,” she said.
She added that the new Child Health and Development Passport will help to achieve this, as it outlines the steps to be taken at each stage of development, and includes the WHO Growth Charts promoting the breastfed child as the standard.
Breastfeeding Week promotes and encourages support for mothers who breastfeed. The Week runs September 19-25. This year’s celebration is under the theme: “Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps- the Baby Friendly Way.”

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