World Breast Feeding Week in the Cayman Islands runs from 1 – 7 August.
This year’s awareness raising campaign, run by the Cayman Islands Hospital’s Public Health in conjunction with its Women’s Health Centre, includes several events designed to celebrate and educate,
According to Women’s Health Centre lactation consultants, Alison Dudley (midwife) and Abigail Parchment advanced practice nurse, the week presents an idea opportunity to highlight the benefits of breastfeeding and all the types of support available in Cayman.
‘We are very excited about this year’s theme: Initiating breastfeeding within the 1st hour.
‘It’s not only the perfect start to breastfeeding; research proves that babies who feed within the first hour tend to be more successful at breastfeeding and mothers are more likely to exclusively breastfeed.’
The centre is open from 8am to 4.30pm weekdays (244-2649) and operates a walk-in breast feeding clinic Thursdays from 10-12 noon.
For details about the Breast Feeding Support Group, which gives 24-hour assistance to breastfeeding mothers contact Nurse Dudley 927-2742 or nurse Parchment 916-4709.
Women’s Resource Centre
The Women’s Resource also has a room where women can express in private, using either their own pump or the centre’s Medela Lactina Select electric double pumping system.
The WRC’s is sterilised after each use and remains in the office at all times. Milk storage bags are also available if mothers do not have their own.
According to the centre’s Director, Tammy Ebanks-Bishop the resource provides tangible support to all lactating mothers.
‘This is one way for Government, through the Women’s Resource Centre, to support women who are trying to balance work and family life.
‘Often times when new mothers return back to the labour market, they soon afterwards decrease or give up breast-feeding their baby altogether. There can be a variety of reasons that this happens, for example there is no privacy or clean environment to express milk at work or their work schedules are not flexible.
‘Over the years, I have actually had a few instances where women called up inquiring about the service, and they reported that their employer would not allow them a break time to express milk.’
Many women cite unaccommodating employers as a reason why they fail to continue breastfeeding when they return to work.
Research has shown that breastfed babies are healthier and smarter babies. In some cases, breastfeeding for also reduces a woman’s risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
Having a work environment that is supportive of breastfeeding, can positively affect the employer by having reduced staff turnover, less sick time/personal leave due to a sick child, fewer and lower health insurance claims.
An additional benefit is increased job productivity due to employee satisfaction, loyalty, and morale and an enhanced reputation as a company concerned for the welfare of its employees and their families.
‘Employers should also consider that they are not only positively assisting their employees of today, but they are also positively assisting the optimal growth and development of the human resources of tomorrow,’ Ms Ebanks Bishop stated.
Other breast feeding related resources available at the WRC include: books and pamphlets in its resource library.
Breast feeding mothers on the Brac can contact Public Health Nurse Nelci Jones at Faith Hospital to use the facility’s electric breast pump.
For World Breastfeeding Week, the Public Health is conducting classes and will have an informational display on breastfeeding.
Throughout the rest of the year it runs breastfeeding classes conducted by Nurse Jones.
Breast Feeding Week events
3 Friday – (2 – 4pm) Breastfeeding Presentation for all health professionals, Orchid Conference Room, Cayman Islands Hospital. Continuing Education Units will be given of attendance.
6 Monday – (5.30 – 7.30pm) Parentcraft Evening for Expectant Parents, Women’s Health Centre, presentation by a member of the National Parenting Programme on breastfeeding and other matters.