National Breastfeeding Week Celebrated

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The Bahamas National Breastfeeding Association (BNBA) is celebrating a week of activities as members continue to push for more children in The Bahamas to be breastfed. 

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated August 1 to 7 each year. This year’s theme is: “Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support”. The week of activities in The Bahamas started off with a service of thanksgiving at Evangelistic Temple Church on July 31. 

On Monday, August 1, the BNBA held a Walk-a-Thon Push-a-Thon, beginning and ending at Christie Park, Nassau Street. Members, along with breastfeeding mothers and babies, not only walked through the community, including Augusta and Meadow Streets; they also handed out pamphlets and spoke with community members about the importance of breastfeeding. 

A new and exciting initiative is the BNBA 100 Days Challenge, in which the amount of babies born at Princess Margaret Hospital introduced to their mother’s breast within the first hour of birth is increased. 

Sister Ampusam Symonette says that breastfeeding has moral, social and intellectual benefits for mother and child.

“The 100 Days Challenge encourages nurses and midwives to put the baby skin-to-skin with the mother within the first hour of delivery,” she said. 

“Before the baby is exposed to the external environment, it has a chance to colonize the mother’s germs, which protect it from the outside world. The hormones prolactin and oxytocin are released when the baby is born, which is good for mother and baby. When the baby goes on the breast skin-to-skin, it reduces confusion for the baby. We need all healthcare workers to be on the same page that breastmilk is best. It is optimum nutrition at birth!” 

On Friday, August 5, breastfeeding mothers all over the world will put their babies to the breast at the same time. In The Bahamas, the lGlobal Latfh on will occur at the Ministry of Health outside foyer at 10am. All breastfeeding mothers and babies, as well as supporters of the breastfeeding cause, are invited to attend. 

“Breast milk is considered the gold standard for babies,” Sister Symonette explained. 

“They are healthier and tend to maintain good body weight, intellect and good disposition when breastfed. It is less expensive for the parents in terms of purchasing bottles and formula, requires no sterilizing, and is available even if there is a lockdown during a pandemic or a storm. 

Proxy President Sister Ampusam Symonette, Nurse LInelle Thompson, Dr Lillian Jones, founding member Nurse Carlotta Class, Attorney Adelma Roach, Nurse Anna Forbes, and President Nurse Trineka Hall were among those organizing and leading the week of events. Participants also included retired Nurse Miriam Rolle, Senior Nursing Officer in charge of the Maternity Ward Sister Bertha Sands, Journalist Felicity Darville, a blind breastfeeding mother, Rickia Pratt, and entrepreneur Kelly Farquharson.

On Wednesday, August 3, a special zoom session will be held as the BNBA works to make the Princess Margaret Hospital even more ‘baby friendly’. Leading medical practitioners and nurses will attend. Throughout the week, BNBA¬†members will be making rounds on radio and television as they continue to spread awareness about the importance of breastfeeding. Articles for public consumption will come from Nurse Andrea Nottage, President of the Midwives Association, and Rhonda Kemp, Midwife Lactation Trainer.

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