- The week will highlight the importance of breastfeeding in the development of Jamaica’s children
- Appropriate feeding in the early years is important to reduce illnesses in infancy and also death
- It is important for mothers to breastfeed within the first hour of life and gain skin-to-skin contact
Jamaica will mark National Breastfeeding Week from September 15 to 21 under the theme:‘Support Breastfeeding: Working Closely with Mothers’.
Speaking at a JIS Think Tank held on September 12 at the agency’s head office in Kingston, Director of Nutrition Services at the Ministry of Health (MOH), Sharmaine Edwards, noted that the week will highlight the importance of breastfeeding in the development of Jamaica’s children.
She said the occasion will be used to encourage family members, community persons, and workplaces to be supportive of mothers as they endeavour to exclusively breastfeed.
Manager of Dietetic Services at the Ministry, Deon Bent, who was also at the Think Tank, noted that “appropriate feeding in the early years is important to reduce illnesses in infancy and also death.”
She said it is important for mothers to breastfeed within the first hour of life and gain skin-to-skin contact. “This is a very important process and the benefits are tremendous… as it calms the baby and it regulates the baby’s heartbeat,” she stated.
Ms. Bent noted that it is in recognition of the benefits of breastfeeding that the Government of Jamaica adopted the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) to provide adequate public education about baby-friendly best practices.
To herald the start of the observance, a national service of thanksgiving will be held at the Hopewell Christian Deliverance Centre located in Old Beach Road in Hopewell, Hanover. The service will get underway at 9:00 a.m.
The national launch will be held on Monday, September 16, at the Sean Lavery Hall in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland at 10:00 a.m.
A sensitisation session will be held on Wednesday, September 18, at the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, to provide information and updates on the National Infant and Young Child Feeding policy, which stipulates the principles governing proper nutrition for children. The session will begin at 9:30 a.m.
Other activities will be held in the four health regions to enlighten mothers about the importance of breastfeeding and to encourage community members to support lactating mothers.
For more information, interested persons can contact the Ministry of Health at 1876-967-1100 or 1876-922-6266.