CPS supports supportive environments for breastfeeding

POSTED: 08/2/11 1:06 PM

St. Maarten – Collective Prevention Services (CPS), an executing agency of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, supports the renewed call by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) for commitment from all sectors of civil society to create supportive environments for breastfeeding. The statement comes at the beginning World Breastfeeding Week which is also part of CPS’ Health Observance Calendar (HOC). The calendar is used to promote particular health issues or topics during a specific identified period in the year.

The 2011 Breastfeeding theme is “Talk to Me! Breastfeeding – a 3-D Experience”. This year’s emphasis is on how to ensure breastfeeding in public-friendly environments such as parks, public transportation, workplace and other places outside the home where mothers of young children carry out their daily lives. WHO/PAHO has slated a time line from May 1 to September 30 to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week by means of information and various activities.

“Breastfeeding is everyone’s responsibility. Breastfeeding is the single most effective preventive intervention for preventing deaths of children under five, and research shows that about 20 per cent of neonatal (under one month) deaths could be prevented if all newborns began breastfeeding during the first hour of life,” a release from the Department of Communications stated.

“In addition, children who are breastfed for seven to nine months have on average six point’s higher IQ than children who are breastfed for less than a month.  Breastfeeding also helps mothers lose weight and reduces their risk of breast and ovarian cancer as well as type-2 diabetes,” the statement continues.

Although breastfeeding has been increasing in many countries in the Americas, much remains to be done to optimize breastfeeding practices. In most countries of the Americas, fewer than half of babies begin breastfeeding within the first hour of life, as recommended by PAHO/WHO.  Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, which is also recommended, is low, ranging from eight per cent to 64 per cent of babies in different countries of Latin America.

“CPS would like to take this opportunity to remind parents about Breastfeeding, a task that should be shared between Father and Mother,” the statement concludes.

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