Sharjah has taken up a Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign, spreading awareness of the disease-prevention benefits of breast-feeding. Representatives are being sent to several nurseries to help those nurseries attain accreditation as being “breast-feeding-friendly”.
The benefits are two-pronged, as the mother also stands to enjoy some life-long advantages. These include a diminished risk of infection from an assortment of conditions, namely ovarian cancer, breast cancer, postpartum depression and Type 2 diabetes. From an aesthetic perspective, breast feeding mothers are better positioned to lose their post-pregnancy weight, because the calories required for breast feeding are derived from the mother’s fat reserves.
Dr Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Director of the Executive Committee for the Sharjah Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign, said that since the purpose of a nursery is to build an early foundation for the baby’s well-being, it’s only rational that nurseries are enthusiastic to support breast feeding, as it boosts the baby physically and emotionally. “We are greatly indebted to the cooperation of nurseries like ladies clubs’ nurseries, the Sharjah Education Council and the Sharjah Social Services Department.”
“We have today 11 nurseries registered with the Sharjah campaign where we evaluated the nurseries’ policies and breast feeding rooms, and we have been reassured that there will be more renovations to give mothers’ privacy and comfort. A follow-up visit by our representatives will confirm whether the nurseries have fulfilled the criteria to be awarded our “Baby-Friendly Nursery” status. I’m also delighted to announce that Basteen Nursery is the first nursery in Sharjah,” Dr Al Ghazal added.
She said that breast milk suppresses the risk of the baby incurring ear infections, skin disorders like dermatitis and necrotizing enterocolitis, in addition to the afore-mentioned diseases. “The baby has a lowered risk of becoming obese, which in itself eliminates numerous obesity-related complications. From an intellectual standpoint, breast-fed children are statistically more likely to develop higher IQ and cognitive ability.”
She said these nurseries receive Certificate of Commitment based on fulfilling the initial requirements: breast-feeding friendly policy; signed commitment by the nursery director. The nursery will have a maximum period of nine months to complete all the sets in order to get the final accreditation.
Amal Al Ameer, director of Basateen Nursery, indicated that the nursery will forbid any sponsorships from manufacturers of industrial milk and decline any related gifts.”
It should be noted that the “Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign” was initiated under the patronage of Shaikha Budoor bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of the Breast-feeding Friends Association last March under the slogan “the right start for a better future”, and it is the first of its kind in the Middle East and will extend over three years.
The campaign includes four initiatives based on the establishment of healthy facilities baby friendly, and initiate companies mother friendly, as well as promoting a baby friendly environment in public places, and children nursing homes and nurseries in the nurture of children.