Healthy, happy communities begin with breastfeeding: Official - GulfToday

Healthy, happy communities begin with breastfeeding: Official


Toddlers on prams pictured at a shopping centre. John Varughese/Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Lactation Training Programme in the UAE director Dr. Fatima Al Olama on Sunday said breastfeeding guarantees “healthy, happy” communities and so everyone must be encouraged to give their share in helping expectant and nursing mothers fulfil this duty to their newborns and babies.

Moreover, in the “Virtual Lecture on Breastfeeding” conducted through Zoom, and opened to the public by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA)-Primary Healthcare Sector, Al Olama stressed that every expectant and nursing mother must be encouraged about the “Golden Time,” espoused by “the (World Health Organisation-WHO, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund-Unicef) and all (the bodies) that promote breastfeeding.”

She later on explained at the Question-and-Answer Forum (QAF) that as “Golden Time” refers to the “first hour of life (after delivery wherein), breastfeeding must be immediately done, this is that precious period when the baby initially gets to know who his mother is through the skin-to-skin contact that establishes bonding as it is also the time when the colostrum flows out containing all the antibodies necessary against diseases.

“The baby will have a good start in life when we observe the Golden Time,” Al Olama, also the DHA-Childcare Unit head, added.

It was a reiteration of what she had stated at the start of her lecture on the benefits of breastmilk and breastfeeding, pointing out that while WHO and Unicef had set the guidelines of “breastfeeding immediately after birth and very good for two years and beyond, it has been (established) since the 15th century and through the Holy Book of Quran that breastfeeding is best for life and you need this liquid which God created in each breast of the mothers.”

“If you want to have a healthy, happy community, you need to breastfeed your baby immediately after birth because it will not only benefit mother and child but it will benefit everyone,” Al Olama said.

She claimed that as the mother continually breastfeeds, more breastmilk would be produced and so the baby becomes much healthier throughout life.

Al Olama said breastmilk prevents asthma, allergies, eczema, diabetes and obesity.

“Breastfeeding is good exercise for the development of the baby’s jaw, tongue and teeth,” she continued.

The virtual lecture was organised in light of the Aug.1 to 7 “World Breastfeeding Week” and on Sunday, relative to the ongoing Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) global outbreak, Al Olama repeated what had been emphasised by WHO and paediatricians whom Gulf Today had interviewed a fortnight back.

That is, based on several COVID19-related research, SARS-CoV2 “cannot be passed through breastfeeding.”

However, nursing mothers must exercise all hygiene protocols and precautionary measures such as social distancing of “two metres away from the baby when not breastfeeding.”

At the QAF, a nursing mother-nurse assigned at the COVID19 Centre of the private hospital she is employed in, raised her predicament in breastfeeding her eight-month-old child due to her work condition and disinclination to express her breastmilk: “My breastmilk is greatly reduced.”

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