GIBRALTAR’S maternity department at St Bernard’s Hospital highlighted the health benefits of breastfeeding babies using the latest research.
Aided by the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) Breastfeeding Team, they put on a stand at the Piazza Friday and told passers-by how ‘breast milk is the perfect nutrition to help babies.’
The event was part of World Breastfeeding Week which is supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that aims to promote the practice in the community and at work.
The GHA’s Maternity Department also offered support to mothers that are unable to or choose not to breastfeed their children.
But wherever possible, the GHA pointed out in a statement the ‘great benefit’ of breastfeeding both to mother and baby ‘especially during the first six months after birth’.
“It is readily available for whenever the baby wants to feed and always fresh and at the right temperature, with no need to boil water or sterilise bottles,” the GHA statement read.
“Breast milk is the perfect nutrition to help babies, particularly those born prematurely, as it reduces the chances of infections and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.”
The WHO said that about 44% of mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies up to the age of six months.
WHO and UNICEF recommend mothers to start breastfeeding with an hour of birth and carry on with mixed solid foods until the child is at least two-years-old.
For those who cannot or do not want to breastfeed the GHA recommended a number of nutritional formulas than help the baby’s safe development.
“The theme by the World Health Organisation (WHO) this year is ‘Making a difference for working parents’.
“I am pleased to announce that the GHA will very soon be commencing consultation with employees with the aim of implementing a Breast Feeding Policy for Staff Members.”
WHO and Unicef believe that nearly a million children’s lives could be saved every year if mother breastfed their children in the first 23 months of life.