Andrijana Bozovic, famous Montenegrin singer, promotes exclusive breastfeeding in baby friendly maternity ward in Bar
BAR, SEPTEMBER 8, 2009 – Andrijana Bozovic, famous Montenegrin singer, joined the campaign “The Early Years-An Opporutunity of a Lifetime” by visiting a baby friendly maternity ward in Bar together with representatives of UNICEF and the Ministry of Health on Tuesday morning, September 8.
“Breastfeeding is the best possible way to feed a baby and it is the best choice also because of the relatioship that mother establishes with the baby in this way. I breastfed my son for a year and we had a very special relationship during these 12 months. I will never forget these moments, his look while I was breatsfeeding and cuddling him…” said Andrijana Bozovic on this occasion.
Promotion of breastfeeding is one of the three topics of the 3 month awareness raising campaign that UNICEF and the Ministry of Health started during the World Breastfeeding Week. According to UNICEF research from 2005 (MICS), only every forth mother breastfeeds her baby within the first hour after birth and that only 19% of Montenegro’s women exclusively breastfeed their children within the first six months. The campaign "The Early Years-An Opportunity of a Lifetime" is based on the key findings of UNICEF research on attitudes and practices of Montenegro’s parents of children up to 6 years old, which was conducted in June 2009. It showed that 85% of parents do not know that that breast milk meets all the needs of the child for nutrients.
“We have a very clear message, and that is: in the first 6 months of life, breastmilk provides a complete form of nutrition, everything that a baby needs. Breastmilk provides a unique combination of nutrients and antibodies. It cannot be artificially replicated. So, we really appeal to all parents and future parents to breastfeed their babies and give them the best possible start to life” said Nola Skinner, UNICEF Representative on this occasion.We have a very clear message, and that is: in the first 6 months of life, breastmilk provides everything that a baby needs.
UNICEF and WHO recommed that mothers start breastfeeding within the first hour after birth and that they exclusively breastfeed their babies during the first 6 months.
While breastfeeding is a natural act, .an extensive body of research has demonstrated that mothers require active support for establishing and sustaining appropriate breastfeeding practices. WHO and UNICEF launched the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative in 1992, to strengthen maternity ward practices to support breastfeeding.
“Our maternity ward was one of the first in Montenegro to become “baby friendly” in 1996 and we are really thankful to UNICEF for supporting us to implement this programme. … As a result of the successful implementation of this programme for 14 years now, 95% of women leave our hospital as breastfeeding mothers.” said dr Vesna Djukvucic, Director of the maternity ward in Bar.
The Baby Friendly Initiative includes 10 steps to encourage successful breastfeeding, such as: informing mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding; training staff to help women breastfeed; ensuring mothers and babies to stay together 24 hours a day while they are in hospital; and seting standards for breastfeeding support groups after discharge from hospital. In Montenegro, Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative began in 2000 as a joint project of the Ministry of Health and UNICEF. As a result, 7 out of 11 maternity hospitals in Montenegro became Baby-Friendly.
“The Ministry of Health will support the remaining 4 maternity wards to become baby friendly in future” said OIC Deputy Minister of Health Ruzica Milovic while visiting the baby friendly hospital in Bar.And let’s not forget fathers as they do have a role to play. Their support means not just love, but lots of attention, small things, like making a warm drink or preparing a glass of water for the mother while she breastfeeds the child in the middle of the night. Fathers can and should also have skin to skin time with their babies
Mothers need support from family as well, as UNICEF Representative Noala Skinner pointed out. 37% of breastfeeding mothers say no one helps them with nutrition and breastfeeding, cleaning and bathing the child, while 59% of fathers do not know how their child was fed accoridng to UNICEF research from June 2009. "And let’s not forget fathers as they do have a role to play. Their support means not just love, but lots of attention, small things, like making a warm drink or preparing a glass of water for the mother while she breastfeeds the child in the middle of the night. Fathers can and should also have skin to skin time with their babies." said UNICEF Representative Noala Skinner.