Bahamas National Breastfeeding Association promotes message with billboard

(BIS Photos/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.)

With the aim of increasing the nation’s breastfeeding rate from 18.7 percent to 50 percent, the Bahamas National Breastfeeding Association (BNBA) has launched a billboard campaign to encourage support for this goal.

The billboard, sponsored by the Ministry of Health, and erected on a roadside wall on East Street (north) adjacent to Mortimer Candies, was dedicated during an outdoor ceremony Friday, April 22, 2022.

The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training, BNBA representatives, health career workers, breastfeeding advocates, passersby and volunteers attended the event.

“We want to take breastfeeding to the next level because we realize breastfeeding is the way forward for The Bahamas. Breastfeeding benefits mother, baby, the family, the environment and the workplace. We need the support of everyone so we can accomplish that goal,” said Anna Forbes, BNBA member. Mrs. Forbes emphasized that breastfeeding is a shared responsibility and, as such, appealed to Minister Hanna-Martin to inform Parliament that mothers need more time off, fathers need to have vacation time with mothers, there’s necessity for
mothers at work to have a break every three hours to pump milk and provisions for storage of milk.

“That is action, and then we know that if we want a change we need the support of the government. We need the support of our community. The billboard is a constant reminder of the importance of breastfeeding. As you walk, as you drive, you can see that and take it to your community that breastfeeding is the golden standard,” she said.

Minister Hanna-Martin, endorsed the association’s initiative and expressed 100 percent commitment.

She commended the BNBA for being, steadfast, faithful and dogged in the promotion of breastfeeding in the country. She encouraged mothers to do all that they can to breastfeed their newborn babies and to do so for as long as is practicable.

“The science is clear; breastmilk is the premium nourishment for newborn babies, it is the perfect food and it helps build immunity. It is proven that breast-fed babies fare better, it creates strong bonding with mother, strong correlation between breastfeeding and high IQ of babies, it is free and produced naturally through God’s beautiful grace and ingenuity.

“We want the community and the extended family to support our young mothers because this is the guarantee for a new generation – breastmilk. It may sound like a small thing but this is a fundamental, humongous, important intervention in the rearing of our children.

“Let us as a nation, in all the things we commit to nationally, that we also commit as a people to the principle of breastfeeding our newborn humans in this nation so we can guarantee them the best opportunities possible — their well-being, health, psychology, intellect and their success as adults,” said Minister Hanna- Martin.

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