SCFO supports natural feeding habits during World Breastfeeding Week
Sharjah entity offers guidance on best practices and highlights vital importance of breastfeeding for the good health and wellbeing of women and children
Sharjah, August08, 2022
With children and their wellbeing central to the programmes of the Sharjah Child Friendly Office (SCFO), the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA) affiliate turned the spotlight on boosting community awareness about breastfeeding and its benefits during the World Breastfeeding Week.
The Sharjah entity, focused on creating a family-friendly emirate of global standards, laid the foundation of an early start to good health by informing, educating, and empowering community members on the vital importance of breastfeeding. Through its website, http://www.sharjahchildfriendlyoffice.ae, and its social media interaction on @Sharjahchildfriendly, SCFO presented a host of information that offered guidance on how a healthy and successful breastfeeding culture can be promoted and sustained in the community.
Adapted from a social media kit by the World Health Organisation (WHO), SCFO urged everyone to come together to make breastfeeding a pleasant experience for young mothers, pointing out how it becomes easier for mothers when they gain adequate knowledge about it before the birth of their child. The kit highlighted the importance of a mother and baby’s time together, especially in the early days after birth, while it called on family and friends to provide practical and emotional help.
The information shared on SCFO’s website and social media accounts also shed light on strategies for workplaces to provide a dedicated time and place for mothers to express or breastfeed. Having a breastfeeding counsellor also helps mothers cope with the new role and individual in their lives.
While mothers can reduce stress and improve immunity through breastfeeding, babies benefit from ‘kangaroo mother care’ or the practice of holding them skin-to-skin. It protects babies, especially preterm babies, from infections and hypothermia. SCFO also highlighted how offering at least 18 weeks of maternity leave and paid paternity leave will reduce the care burden on new mothers. Hospitals and staff can further encourage the breastfeeding habit by familiarising new mothers with natural methods of feeding the infant.
Each day of World Breastfeeding Week, held from August 1 – 7, was dedicated to various milestones in the breastfeeding journey, including several dos and don’ts such as the unethical marketing of formula milk.
SCFO believes that mothers need breastfeeding counselling till the baby is 2 years old as it can provide reassurance and build confidence. The family-focused Sharjah entity observed this occasion by raising awareness of residents on the far-reaching health and financial impacts of breastfeeding. From reducing child and maternal deaths, keeping staff motivated with sufficient maternity and paternity leaves to cutting down on losses worth $302 billion annually, and scaling up breastfeeding by offering mothers a strong and supportive environment, SCFO utilised the occasion to reiterate that healthy mothers and babies are the cornerstones of happy families and communities.
Sharjah’s commitment to delivering comprehensive child-friendly initiatives and welfare programmes irrespective of gender, nationality and ability earned it the prestigious UNICEF Child-Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) Inspire Award twice. As the SCFO moves forward under the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, to protect and elevate the rights and wellbeing of children of all ages in Sharjah, the relevance of breastfeeding as a primary source of family bonding and happiness gains utmost importance.