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Health Department recognises World Breastfeeding Week

The Department of Health (DoH) and La Leche League (LLL) will join an international campaign marking World Breastfeeding Week, starting next Monday.

This year’s theme is ‘Breastfeeding is Normal.’

Mellonie Furbert, Public Health Nutritionist for the Department of Health and a member of Bermuda’s Breastfeeding Promotion Committee said: “We are committed to helping mothers in the community overcome barriers to breastfeeding which can negatively affect our health system.

“Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Every mother should feel comfortable feeding her child in public when he/she is hungry.

“We are encouraging Bermudians to be baby-friendly and welcome breastfeeding as the normal way to nourish newborns.”

Melony Kendell, accredited La Leche League leader said: “The more often something is seen, the more accepted it becomes. By seeing and supporting breastfeeding in public, it will become normal.

“Even in developed countries, like Bermuda, the routine feeding of infant formula places babies at a higher risk of many short-term and chronic illnesses. Bermuda Breastfeeding Guidelines and medical organisations worldwide recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding with complementary foods for the first year of life and beyond.

“In order to encourage women in our community to follow these guidelines, they must feel comfortable being out in public and feeding their babies.”

Activities scheduled for August include:

• Free breastfeeding consultations on August 4, sponsored by LLL at the Hamilton Health Centre, provided by an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

• Free breastfeeding information at the DoH baby clinics in Hamilton, Warwick, Somerset and St. George’s.

• CITV Health and Family segment on normalising breastfeeding.

• Bus advert campaign with the theme ‘Breastfeeding is Normal.’

Interview on Community Voices with Gina Spence, FM 89 on August 13 at 10:30am.

Local companies supportive of women who are breastfeeding are encouraged to display a “Breastfeeding is Welcomed Here” sign which can be provided by calling Community Nursing at 292-3095. Those wanting to make an appointment for a free breastfeeding consultation next week can call 737-4577.