Breastfeeding is the best start in life for babies. It protects against infections and also reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes later in life. Breastfeeding helps the mother to build a strong emotional bond with the new-born, as well as helping them to lose weight, and reducing the risk of osteoporosis, breast and ovarian cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
On Saba, the Public Health Department is teaming up with Saba Healthcare Foundation and Body, Mind & Spirit (BMS) to encourage more women to start and continue with breastfeeding.
- There will be posters and flyers informing the community and mothers-to-be about breastfeeding.
- The public health nurse has started discussing breastfeeding with all pregnant women and she will support them when the baby is born.
- BMS & the Public Health Department invested in breast pumps and starter-kits to be made available to mothers that need it. This was partly made possible by a donation from the Women’s Medical Student Association from Saba University School of Medicine.
- Employers will be encouraged to sign the breastfeeding pledge, in which they pledge to facilitate their breastfeeding employees.
- Health workers at the medical centre will inform and support new mothers where possible.
Some women do not think breastfeeding works for them. Although a few reasons are valid, most are based on myths. To correct a few common myths:
- MYTH: Formula milk is the same as breastmilk.
FACT: Formula milk is a good alternative, but is not the same as breastmilk. It lacks, for example, some of the protective antibodies that help fight infections.
- MYTH: Breastfeeding will make your breasts sag.
FACT: The process of breast feeding has no influence on this.
- MYTH: Breastfeeding hurts.
FACT: Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. If it does, it is often a problem with attaching or positioning the baby. The public health nurse can usually help with this.
Breastfeeding takes effort. It may take a village to raise a child, but it also takes a community to support women who wish to breastfeed their children!