Breastfeeding Week aims to empower parents

| 02/08/2019
CNS Local life
Sasha Hayles, with her newborn, says breastfeeding is rewarding for her and her baby

(CNS Local Life): For World Breastfeeding Week, which runs 1-7 August, the Health Services Authority (HSA) is partnering with the Cayman Islands Breastfeeding Support Group to encourage parents to seek the information and resources they need to realise their breastfeeding goals. The purpose of the annual celebration is to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies.

The slogan for this year is “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding”. Empowerment is a process that requires evidence-based information and support from a mother’s family, friends, employers and community to create the enabling environment where mothers can breastfeed optimally, the HSA said in a press release.

The Breastfeeding Support Group is a volunteer organisation that meets regularly to offer free support and education in breastfeeding both to mothers and to those who are expecting.

“People feel empowered when they are informed,” said Charmin Fennell, HSA Maternity Unit Manager. “Our midwives and nurses help to make parents aware of the remarkable benefits that breastfeeding offers and assist and inform breastfeeding mothers who may find it challenging and need some guidance on how to alleviate some of these challenges. We want all parents to know that there are resources available to them on island that will inform, support and help them to feel empowered to breastfeed.”

Prior to the arrival of a baby, parents can participate in a free eight-week educational series called ParentCraft offered by the Cayman Islands Hospital on Mondays from 5:30pm-7:30pm in the Women’s Health Centre. Topics covered include breastfeeding, nutrition for pregnancy, labour and delivery, knowing your baby and infant CPR. Registration is not required.

Once their baby is born, parents can ask questions and seek guidance from the midwives and nurses at the Maternity Unit and Women’s Health Centre, who can explain the benefits of breastfeeding, proper positioning and latching, offer practical advice on nursing challenges, help mothers to identify when their baby is hungry and refer parents to community resources for breastfeeding support.

Midwives at the Woman’s Health Centre, West Bay Health Centre and Bodden Town Health Centre offer free postnatal care and home visits for all patients. They can provide general and breastfeeding support as necessary.

Parents can also seek assistance from the Breastfeeding Support Group, whose members are knowledgeable in breastfeeding and make themselves readily available in every district.

The World Health Organization recommends that babies should be breastfed exclusively in the first six months, the HSA noted. Thereafter, solid foods should be introduced to fulfil a baby’s nutritional requirements while breastfeeding can continue until the child is 2 years old or beyond.

“Breastfeeding offers the finest and most natural nutrition for babies, benefits babies’ growth and development and promotes emotional bonding between mothers and babies,” said HSA nutritionist Simone Sheehan. “Sustained breastfeeding relies not only on the hard work and perseverance of breastfeeding mothers but also support from their family members and the community as a whole. We can all support this process, as breastfeeding is a team effort. To enable breastfeeding we all need to protect, promote and support it.”

For more information on breastfeeding, ParentCraft classes and postnatal care, call the Women’s Health Centre at 244-2649 or email To contact the Cayman Islands Breastfeeding Support Group, call 945-1751 or email

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Category: Local News, Medical and Health

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