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Breast is best

Friday, 7th August, 2009

Not only are they generally healthier, breastfed babies are now officially ready for any emergency.

That's the message from the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) and the Child and Family Health Centre, which are promoting World Breastfeeding Week. The theme this year is "Breastfeeding in emergencies: A vital response". The stated benefits of breastfeeding include protecting babies from illness and infection and aiding the development of eyesight, speech and intelligence. Then there's the bond it forms between mother and baby. But breastfeeding can also be life saving, according to the ABA. "Australia is a country prone to natural disasters such as bushfires, floods, storms, cyclones and drought," the ABA said. "However emergencies can include things like power outages and traffic jams - anything that prevents a mother having access to her normal resources. "Where infants are not breastfed, it can be extremely difficult to provide them with appropriate food and water in emergency circumstances, even in Australia." The ABA has gone so far as to call on Australian aid agencies to ensure their responses to emergencies do not lead to a reduction in breastfeeding. "During emergencies, unsolicited or uncontrolled donations of breastmilk substitutes may undermine breastfeeding and should be avoided." Local Community Midwife Ann Wiseman said that the initiation rate for breastfeeding among Broken Hill mothers was above 90 per cent "which is really good". The ABA holds a support group at 10am every second Thursday at the TAFE's Playhouse in Argent Street and all women and families are welcome. "This week they will be celebrating World Breastfeeding Week," Mrs Wiseman said. Families who would like extra support with breastfeeding can also attend the Breastfeeding Support Clinic at The Child & Family Health Centre in Oxide Street. The clinic is on every Thursday from 11am to 3pm and you can drop in or phone the Centre to make an appointment. Mothers can self refer or referrals will be accepted from the Maternity Unit, GPs and Pharmacists. A qualified lactation consultant and/or a midwife are in attendance at each clinic to answer breastfeeding questions, help with problems and give advice and support. For information on ABA support group or the Breastfeeding Support Clinic phone the Child and Family Health Centre, 80826111.

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