Yesterday, the Government of Jersey published the annual Births and Breastfeeding Profile 2022. Family Nursing and Home Care’s Health Visitor, Specialist Community Public Health Nurse and Baby Friendly Initiative Lead Debra Hennessy attended today’s Media Briefing. Her reflections are as below:
It was gratifying to see that 65% of babies in Jersey were being breastfed at 6-8 weeks after birth which is the highest recorded percentage between 2011 and 2022 and compares favourably with England at 49%.
New data released in this year’s report tracks breastfeeding at the 12 month developmental assessment. It reveals that 24% of children receiving this assessment were still breastfeeding.
There are many health benefits for both mother and child related to the longevity of breastfeeding including improved immunity for the child and for the mother, reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
FNHC is committed to supporting breastfeeding through the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative which is already demonstrating positive impacts on the delivery of our services to our clients through its evidence based, staged accreditation programme.
Starting antenatally with preparation for breastfeeding delivered through our Baby Steps programme and then continued after birth by our Health Visiting Team, supporting parents through the early days of establishing feeding.
A specialist Breastfeeding Clinic supports those with more complex feeding challenges and can be accessed through the Duty Health Visitor, alternatively, home visits can be arranged for longer consultations when needed with our specialist Health Visitor.
Research has long shown the benefits of breastfeeding for infant and maternal health and more recently relationship building and improved mental health, with cost savings for health care providers and government through disease prevention.
One area of concern remains the number of babies (12%) reported to be exposed to tobacco smoke by an adult living in the household. The risk of Sudden Infant Death (SIDS) is massively reduced for children living in a smoke free environment and to mothers who did not smoke during pregnancy.
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