August 01, 2016
Last year, 14,889 children breast fed during the one-minute count; 15,336 breastfeeding women attended; and 36,502 people attended registered Global Big Latch On locations to support breast feeding. This year, the organizers of the Bahamian arm of the Global Big Latch On are hoping that mothers once again support the event so that The Bahamas is in on the final count of breastfeeding women with their babies latched to them for one minute at a set time, to support and promote breastfeeding.
Bahamas Lactation Coordinator Nurse Traneka Hall expects to have at least 30 women participating publicly in this year's Big Latch On that will take place at the Mall at Marathon at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 5 under the theme "Breastfeeding: A key to sustainable development".
Around the country, clinics and hospitals will again encourage mothers to join the move by breastfeeding in their respective facilities.
The aim of The Big Latch On event is for communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide ongoing breastfeeding support and promotion. The event hopes to encourage the community to positively support breastfeeding in public places and make breastfeeding a normal part of everydaylife.
Jasadette Hepburn, a mother who breastfed her children told The Nassau Guardian that breastfeeding provides mother and child with an attachment.
She spoke of being in her first year of college and becoming pregnant for the first time, which she said, at the time, was depressing. She did not breastfeed her first child initially, but her mother encouraged her to breastfeed. She recalled that, after a month, she didn't want anyone around her child.
"It gave us an attachment and I came to the realization that I loved him so much," she said.
Last year during the Great Latch On awareness period she spoke about how excited she got when she saw women breastfeeding, to the point where she said she would interrupt them and tell them how proud she was of them.
"More mature women breast feed because they know the health issues involved with breastfeeding -- not just for their babies, but for themselves as well, in terms of lowering their risk of cancer and just getting slimmer after having the baby," said Hepburn. "But younger women tend to just put the bottle into the baby's mouth, so we're trying to get all women to breastfeed."
Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding does not hurt, according to Nurse Linelle Thompson, program coordinator of Lactation Management Services in the Department of Public Health. Thompson is also the education chairperson of the Bahamas National Breastfeeding Association (BNBA).
She says it is actually nipple feeding that hurts, and if a person is nipple feeding, she is doing it incorrectly. She said it would also hurt if the baby is not latched onto the breast properly.
As the BNBA gets ready to host the Big Latch On Palooza, Carlotta Klass, president of the organization said the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all mothers breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months of life -- that means no water, no juice and no formula. She said WHO also recommends that mothers continue to breastfeed the same way up to two years and beyond; there is really no cut-off point. If a mother has to go to work, she can express her milk and allow someone to cup feed the baby, as giving the baby a nipple attached to a bottle confuses the baby.
She said it's also important that mothers maintain proper breastfeeding posture - the baby's stomach should touch the mother's stomach, and the baby should be lying on his or her side at the mother's breast.
According to Nurse Thompson, the stories that most people hear about breastfeeding are just that -- myths.
She said breastfeeding does not cause saggy breasts, but helps women to get their shape back.
The nurse also said that breast milk does not give babies gas when the mother has not eaten.
"That's impossible, because breasts are not hooked up to the stomach, so you can't give the baby gas."
She said babies get gastric disturbances, when they take in milk designed for a 200-pound animal.
"While studying at the University of West London, they showed me the stomach of two babies -- one with the breast milk going in, and the next with the formula going in. The stomach is coil-shaped and you could see the breast milk going into the stomach lining it, coating it, sealing it and making it bacteria-proof. When the formula went into the next tummy, because it was so heavy, it stretched the gut right out. It reduces the immune system and causes gastric disturbances. Not only that, when you give the baby formula, more than two-thirds of that formula does not go anywhere and won't be used by the baby," she said. "Formula lies to the baby and gives the baby a false feeling of fullness and takes away the hunger and thirst for the breast."
According to the nurse, most of the breast milk is absorbed into the baby's system and only a small amount is left in the stomach, which is why breast-fed babies want to breast feed faster and why people think the baby is not getting enough.
"It's that they're using their food, but the baby that's getting the formula is not using their food," she said.
Babies who have breastfed for two years are given special protection against salmonella; if the mother breastfeeds for three years, the baby gets protection against cholera.
Breastfeeding classes are offered in all government clinics and at the Bahamas National Breastfeeding Association.
The Big Latch On was started in 2005, in New Zealand by Women's Health Action as part of World Breastfeeding Week. Each year, the event has seen growth in the numbers of breastfeeding women attending and an increase in the support for breastfeeding in public. The Big Latch On was introduced to Portland, Oregon, in 2010 by Joanne Edwards in celebration for World Breastfeeding Week. In 2011, Edwards worked with Annie Brown and members of La Leche League USA to grow the Big Latch On across the United States. In an effort to further strengthen the Big Latch On mission to protect, promote and support breastfeeding women, and in recognition of increasing global participation in the Big Latch On, Women's Health Action and the Big Latch On Global Coordinator Joanne Edwards joined forces for 2012.
Since inception, the Big Latch On has been growing. In 2010 only two countries participated at 147 locations with 2,045 breastfeeding children latching on for the count.
Last year 28 countries participated, with 654 individual locations and a total of 14,889 children latching on for the count, even though 15,336 breastfeeding women were in attendance. In total there were 36,502 people lending their support to the event.
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated August 1-7.
The breastfed toddler
Hair: Breastfed toddlers have glossier, healthier hair. Protein is a major functional and structural component of hair cells and is essential for growth and repair. After 12 months, 15 ounces of breast milk provides 45 percent of a toddler's protein requirements in its most natural form.
Brain: Breast-fed toddlers have higher intellectual and cognitive aptitude compared to formula-fed peers and peers breastfed for a shorter amount of time.
Ears: Breastfed toddlers have better hearing due to lower incidence of ear infections.
Eyes: As the eye is similar to the brain in regard to nervous tissue, breastfed toddlers have stronger vision. Also at 12 months (15 ounces) of breast milk provides 75 percent of a toddler's Vitamin A requirements. Vitamin A is needed by the retina of the eye and is necessary for both low light (scotopic vision) and color vision.
Teeth: Thumb sucking is less likely to occur in breastfed toddlers, so their teeth are less likely to become misaligned. Also, increased duration of nursing actually improves the dental arch.
Independence: Breastfeeding is part of meeting a child's dependency needs, and this is the key to helping the child achieve independence. Children who achieve independence at their own pace are more secure in that independence than children forced into independence prematurely.
Weight: Toddlers who are breastfed for extended periods of time tend to have leaner bodies with less risk of obesity.
Limbs: Breast milk is an excellent painkiller in the bumps and bruises that come along with toddlers and climbing.
Taste buds: Breastfed toddlers are less likely to be fussy eaters. However, even if they go through a fussy period, breastfed toddlers still get their taste buds stimulated by the range of flavors in their mommy's milk.
Bones: Calcium is a mineral that strengthens bones. After 12 months, 15 ounces of breast milk provides 36 percent of a toddler's calcium requirements in its most natural form.
Immune system: At one year, a child's immune system is functioning at 60 percent of adult level. The antibodies in breast milk continue to provide valuable protection during the toddler period. In fact, the immunological benefits of breastfeeding actually increase during the second and third years of nursing.
Skin: Skin in breast-fed toddlers is often smoother and more supple
Hydration: Although breast
fed toddlers are less likely to become ill, if they do get sick, breast milk can keep them hydrated when they cannot tolerate other liquids.
Portability: Breastfed toddlers are easier to travel with. Nursing is far more convenient than carrying around feeding cups and paraphernalia, and can be a wonderful way of providing reassurance in unfamiliar surroundings.
o Source: mummiesnummies.com
10 reasons why breastfeeding doesn't suck
o You'll feel far less crazy: A study of postpartum mothers found that those who breastfed their babies showed far less anxiety and more mutuality at one month postpartum than those who didn't.
o It lowers the risk of adulthood cancers: One study found the risk of childhood cancer in formula-fed children was two to 8 times that of long-term breastfed children. The risk for short-term formula feeders was one to 9 times that of long-term breast feeders.
oIf women who breastfed for less than three months were to stick it out for four to 12 months, breast cancer among parous premenopausal women could be reduced by 11 percent. And if they stayed with it for 24 months or longer, those risks could be reduced by nearly 25 percent.
o Smart kids rule: Studies show that breastfed babies have significantly higher IQs by age eight than babies who didn't breastfeed -- even after adjusting the stats for differences between groups and mom's educational and social class.
o You could save on braces: The longer you breastfeed, the lower the likelihood that baby will suffer from malocclusion -- a fancy word for misalignment of the teeth and dental arches.
o It cuts down on childhood obesity: Breastfeeding has long been tied with reducing the rate of childhood obesity, regardless of mom's diabetes or weight status.
o Allergies and ailment are no biggie: Respiratory wheezing, influenza, diarrhea, allergies and eczema are way less common in breastfed babies -- think about all those trips to the doc you won't have to make.
o It saves lives: If just 90 percent of mothers breastfed exclusively for six months, an estimated 900 babies would live.
o Oh, and it'll save you a ton of cash too: Believe it or not, formula supplies for just six months can cost upwards of $1,000.
o You'll fit into your skinny jeans faster: Breastfeeding burns an average of 500 calories a day. Yes, really. Need we say more?
Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian