Awareness week encourages breastfeeding
04 Aug 2017 - 1:43
To mark World Breastfeeding Week, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is encouraging more women to exclusively breastfeed their babies.
Each year during the first week of August, HMC supports the global network of individuals and organisations working to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding babies from birth up to the age of two. The theme for the week this year is: ‘Sustaining Breastfeeding Together’.
Dr Amal Abu Bakr Arbab, Lactation Consultant and Lead for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative at Women’s Hospital, said that breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients, antibodies, enzymes, and substances they need for healthy growth and development.
“Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the healthcare system and society at large. Through our event, we will ensure women are empowered and have the right information and practical help to understand how to successfully breastfeed their babies,” she said.
She added that colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy, is hailed by the WHO as the perfect food for newborns. The organisation recommends that feeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth.
According to the WHO, breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. If every child was breastfed within an hour of birth, given only breast milk for their first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two years, about 800,000 child lives would be saved every year.
To raise awareness of the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding during World Breastfeeding Week, HMC’s maternity facilities will be conducting events for both staff and patients. As part of the activities, the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department at Al Wakra Hospital is organising an awareness campaign, featuring educational workshops and lectures in English and Arabic to highlight the significance of breastfeeding and its impact on the health of mother and child as well as the difficulties that breastfeeding women can face.
In addition, Women’s Hospital will conduct a public awareness and patient education event for pregnant women, new mothers, and their families.
During the event, the specialised breastfeeding team will provide one-on-one breastfeeding education and counseling.