Series of weekly lectures reaches its 4th week in celebration of National Breastfeeding Week
UAE, Sharjah, 17th September 2013: In line with the evolving lifestyles of modern women, Sharjah mothers are receiving life-changing insights on how to balance their careers with their breastfeeding, as well as the best methods of introducing supplementary solids and weaning. The series of lectures in both Arabic and English has been organized by Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign as part of its celebrations for National Breastfeeding Week (10-16 November). The lectures started in August and the last lecture is scheduled for Wednesday, 18 September (11:30am - 12:30pm) at Al Zahra Hospital.
For maximum convenience, mothers have been given a choice of different time slots every Monday and Wednesday, at participating health facilities such as Maternal and Child Health Center, as well as Al Zahra Hospital. Educational material has also been distributed to mothers to give them a wealth of reference sources at home and work. In line with the World Health Organization's recommendations, the first lecture has focused on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, while the second lecture was titled “Back to Work”, in recognition of the fact that modern mothers now have a dual role in both the workplace and the home.
The third topic, “Introduction of Solids”, teaches mothers to give the baby a smooth and gradual transition from exclusive breastfeeding to exclusive solids, to avoid any abrupt changes in diet that might come as a digestive shock to the baby. The fourth topic, “Weaning”, marks the final stage of the breastfeeding process, as the baby becomes a toddler eating a semi-adult diet.
Commenting in the lectures, Dr Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Director of the Executive Committee of the Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign, said: “Women used to be confronted with a very tough choice between choosing their baby or their career. But we believe working mothers can choose both and ensure a win-win scenario in the workplace and home. In fact, if the mother has a successful career she can give her baby an even higher quality of life. That's why we are enlightening mothers through topics like “Back to Work”, teaching them the globally recommended ways of safely pumping and storing breast milk. Our lectures cover the end-to-end stages from newborn babies right up to the time they are toddlers whose diet exclusively consists of solids.”
The lectures mark the latest contribution by SBFEC in its goal of bringing together health facilities, nurseries, employers and public places under the umbrella of supporting breastfeeding. International surveys have indicated that less than half (between 33% - 48%) of the managers of public places like restaurants and shopping centers would allow mothers to breastfeed in public. Up to two thirds say they would totally discourage breastfeeding in public, while only a minority would direct the mother to a more private breastfeeding room.
Despite the overwhelming evidence proving the medical, intellectual and emotional benefits to both the baby and the mother, SBFEC acknowledges that there are still areas for improvement in making Sharjah one of the world's most baby-friendly and mother-friendly places.
The Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign was initiated in March 2012 under the generous patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Budoor bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and President of the Campaign. The campaign encompasses four initiatives: Breastfeeding-Friendly Nurseries, Mother and Baby-Friendly Public Places, Mother-Friendly Workplaces and Baby-Friendly Health Facilities. The campaign is sponsored by Sharjah Islamic Bank.