MoH marks breastfeeding week

National 2 minutes, 8 seconds


MOTHERS should be protected against the stigma of breastfeeding, in order to raise the number of babies nursing exclusively on breast milk, said the Minister of Health.

In a message to mark World Breastfeeding Week, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Md Yusof said to increase the number of mothers who practise breastfeeding, a collective effort is required.

Only 30 per cent of mothers in Brunei breastfeed, according to 2011 Ministry of Health (MoH) figures .

The minister said his ministry in 2013 took a major step to increase awareness on breastfeeding by establishing the Maternal Infant & Young Children Nutrition taskforce. He said the establishment of the taskforce aims to increase awareness and understanding through “education, training, research and support”.

The ministry has also established a Breastmilk Substitute Marketing Code as well as fortifying the ‘Baby Friendly Hospital’ initiative.

To encourage mothers to breastfeed, YB Pehin Dato Hj Adanan outlined the ‘uncomparable’ benefits that can be gained by both the mother and baby.

The minister stated that breastmilk can save the lives of babies and young children. “The nutritional content and antibodies present in breast milk is ideal in preventing and fighting communicable diseases as well as encourage optimal physical and mental growth.”

Breast milk has been proven by research to prevent stunting, a negative phenomena that impedes physical and cognitive growth in children.

Meanwhile, breastfeeding reduces the risk of cancer among mothers. The risk of getting ovarian and uterine cancer is higher among females who have never breastfed a child.

The number of mothers facing breast cancer before menopause is 12 per cent lower in mothers that breastfeed, according to research.

Other benefits for mothers include a stronger backbone, low risk of osteoporosis as well as mental health benefits.

“Mothers that breastfeed feel more positive and suffer less depression, concerns and irritation post-natally,” stated the minister.

This year, World Breastfeeding Week is observed from August 1 until August 7, and carries the theme ‘Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life’.

Through this year’s observance, the minister intends to disseminate information regarding the Millennium Development Goals 2015, and how breastfeeding can help achieve it.

The observance also aims to share the progress and development achieved by the ministry in overcoming challenges with regards to breastfeeding

The minister also sought to promote interest among youths to understand the importance of breastmilk, as a way to ensure all layers of society work together towards the same goal of increasing the number of mothers feeding their babies with breast milk.

The Brunei times