International Breastfeeding Expert to Offer Free Public Presentation and Training for Healthcare Professionals in Bermuda

An internationally renowned expert in breastfeeding will be visiting Bermuda next week to speak to the public and healthcare professionals at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the Department of Health. This is part of an ongoing strategy by the Ministry of Health, Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) and La Leche League (LLL) to increase breastfeeding rates in Bermuda, which is a stated goal of Government’s National Health Promotion Strategy and commitment to wellness. The World Health Organization recommends babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months and continue to breastfeed for a year or longer. Women in Bermuda are being encouraged to reach this goal.

LLL is sponsoring the visit by International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and educator, Jan Barger. The free public presentation will take place on Thursday evening, 18 February at 7:30pm in the First Floor Conference Room at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. Parenting on Cue will review parenting styles and books that are currently popular and will help new parents recognise baby’s cues. All expectant and new parents, family members and friends are invited.

“Healthcare professionals are usually the first people who interact with new mothers,” said Dr. Cheryl Peek-Ball, Senior Medical Officer, Dept of Health. “We hope expectant and new parents will come and hear Ms Barger speak. The training of nurses, midwives, physicians and others will sustain the help available to women who choose to breastfeed over the longer term, which is great for our goal of increasing breastfeeding rates in Bermuda for the wellbeing of the community.”

“LLL is committed to promoting breastfeeding in Bermuda,” said Melony Kendell, Accredited Leader. “We are very pleased to be partnering this year with the Dept. of Health and BHB to educate the public about the many health benefits breastfeeding provides to both babies and mothers. Evidence-based research confirms that breastfeeding reduces the rate of illness in babies and contributes to lower incidences of obesity, diabetes and cardiac disease in adulthood. Breastfeeding also confers protection to women from breast and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.”

Christine Virgil, BHB Clinical Director of Maternal/Child Services said: “The hospital’s maternity team recognises how important it is for new mothers to receive appropriate support for breastfeeding in the early hours and days after giving birth. We are excited about Ms Barger’s training, which will focus on practical techniques for helping mothers overcome initial difficulties and review the World Health Organization and UNICEF’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for healthcare professionals. We are committed to supporting women who choose to nurse their babies.”

“The early days after returning home from hospital may be difficult and often mothers give up breastfeeding during this time,” said Gaylia Landy, Chief Nursing Officer for the Dept. of Health. “Health Visitors´ visit all new mothers once they are home and offer assistance with breastfeeding. Training sessions for our staff will concentrate on slow weight gain, poor milk supply, pumping issues, fussy babies and sleeping through the night. We see this as a positive step toward all healthcare providers offering consistent and accurate information.”

The Ministry of Health, BHB and LLL are collaborating this year on several projects to promote breastfeeding. A photo display of breastfed babies will be featured at City Hall in August in honour of World Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Additional in-service trainings will be offered later in the year. The deadline for photos is 1 July 2010. For more information about these events, please call 541-6455.

Parenting on Cue
A free presentation reviewing parenting philosophies, baby’s cues and giving newborns the best start in life. Thursday evening, 18 February, 7:30pm, First Floor Conference Room, King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. Open to expectant and new parents, family members and friends.

Breastfed Baby Photo Exhibit Details:
• Exhibit open to babies born after 1 July 2008 who were either breastfed or received breast milk for approximately five to six months. Photos of breastfed newborns and toddlers will also be accepted & displayed under special sections.
• Photos may be of baby alone or with family members.
• Photos should be 4×6, 5×7 or 8×10. Other sizes may be considered.
• Email JPEG photos to photos@bhb.bm by 1 July 2010. Include name of baby, parent, phone numbers, email address & baby’s date of birth.
• Selected photos will be displayed during World Breastfeeding Week in August 2010.
• For further information, phone 541-6455, email photos@bhb.bm or visit www.health.gov.bm

About La Leche League
La Leche League of Bermuda (LLL), a registered charity, has assisted thousands of women and their families in Bermuda since 1987 by offering information, encouragement and support for breastfeeding. Affiliated with La Leche League International (LLLI), the local Group is fully funded by donations from within Bermuda and offers services without charge, provided by accredited Leaders. LLL promotes and protects breastfeeding through monthly support meetings, a home visit service, information sharing with healthcare professionals and a telephone help line. Breastfeeding assistance is available by calling 541-6455.

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