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Breast is Best at National Women’s Hospital

2 August 2004

Breast is Best at National Women’s Hospital

National Women’s Hospital is supporting this year’s World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August) which highlights the importance of exclusive breast feeding for babies up to 6 months old. There will be a display in the foyer of the hospital with information on breastfeeding and staff will be encouraged to wear ‘golden bow’ lapel pins, representing the ‘gold standard’ in newborn nutrition.

“Our emphasis this year is on breastfeeding being ‘Safe, Sound and Sustainable’. This simple motto is based on the evidence that babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life are healthier. They have the right amount of nutrients and water, have fewer allergies, and are less likely to be overweight than formula fed babies,” say Ann Yates, National Women’s Midwifery Leader.

The World Health Organisation’s global strategy for Infant & Young Child feeding recommends nothing but breast milk for the first 6 months of a baby’s life as the healthiest choice for mother and baby. “As well as this - breastfeeding is free!” says Ann Yates.

National Women’s is currently working towards a ‘Baby Friendly’ status – an internationally adopted term that describes hospitals that promote and support breast-feeding. It is intending to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding through educating staff in all areas of the hospital. A leaflet promoting exclusive breastfeeding is being given to all new mothers during World Breastfeeding Week at National Women’s and around the country.

“With the right support and information all babies can be given this opportunity,” says Ann Yates.

Exclusive breastfeeding works best when it’s frequent and without set timeframes. Ann Yates says the challenge for new mothers is to disregard clocks and respond instead to the hunger and cues of the baby. Research shows that children who are not breastfed are about 250% more likely to be hospitalised for respiratory infections like asthma and pneumonia.

ENDS

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