x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Experts urge mothers to breast-feed

Doctors and midwives encouraged mums to breast-feed their babies.

DUBAI // Healthcare experts at a Dubai forum yesterday tried to impress upon hundreds of mums and mums-to-be the importance of breast-feeding in early child nutrition.

The forum at the Address Hotel in Dubai Marina was organised by Philips AVENT. It included discussions on the benefits of breast feeding - such as aiding babies' growth and protecting them from infections - as well as advice for new mums on how to breast-feed with confidence, and how to start weaning a baby off breast-feeding.

"Ninety-nine per cent of mothers can and should breast-feed their child," said Dr Mohamad Miqdady, consultant and head of paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi. "It is often said that breast milk is liquid gold, since it is the best gift that a mother can give her own child."

"Ninety-nine per cent of mothers can and should breast-feed their child"

However, Dr Miqdady said a Unicef survey from 2009 showed that only 20 per cent of mothers in the UAE exclusively breast-feed from zero to five months. "It is our job as healthcare providers to support and provide you with information to make breast-feeding work," he said.

Some of the reasons why mums may decide not to breast-feed could be related to a lack of support, a lack of education or a short maternity leave that prompted them to abandon breast-feeding early, experts said.

balqabbani@thenational.ae