* Hospital provides antenatal infant feeding classes
Al Khor Hospital has commenced a special programme to provide antenatal infant feeding classes to pregnant women. In addition, the hospital now has a hotline that women can call for breastfeeding support.
The Al Khor Hospital Antenatal Infant Feeding Classes hotline number (33032156) offers breastfeeding advice from 7am to 3pm, Sunday to Thursday.
The Ministry of Public Health advocates the adoption of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in Qatar and Hamad Medical Corporation is proactively working towards obtaining official BFHI accreditation for facilities that offer women and newborn services in Qatar, HMC said in a statement Monday.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that over 820,000 lives of children under five years could be saved every year if all children aged 0-23 months were optimally breastfed. The WHO and Unicef launched the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative to assist hospitals in giving mothers the information, confidence and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies by giving special recognition to hospitals that have done so.
The establishment of educational sessions and services provided through the helpline supports achieving the target for the antenatal indicators for the BFHI accreditation, the statement adds.
Mohamed al-Jusaiman, HMC’s deputy chief for General Hospitals Group and CEO of Al Khor Hospital, is a keen hospital executive supporter of the initiative across all HMC facilities offering maternity services. “By joining hands across the public healthcare sector to promote breastfeeding, we are aiming to make it easier for women and their families to adopt breastfeeding best practices as a means of protecting infants and ensuring their wellbeing. This initiative is designed to be in the best interest of mothers and their babies while also helping governments gain efficiencies and save money and lives.”
Studies have shown that breastfeeding helps promote infant brain development, reduces the risk of obesity in children, and protects women against breast and ovarian cancer and diabetes. Facilities that provide maternity and newborn services have a unique role in providing new mothers and babies with the timely and appropriate support and encouragement they need to breastfeed successfully.
Al Khor Hospital has been strongly engaged in developing comprehensive, high-quality maternity services. We, therefore, have key nursing and midwifery teams working towards our hospital’s readiness for the BFHI accreditation, says Fatma Moh’d Al-Komah, acting executive director of Nursing, who has been instrumental in the establishment of these sessions for pregnant women and new mothers living in and around the Al Khor catchment area.
According to Mariama Lilei Feika, director of Nursing for women and newborn services at Al Khor Hospital, the antenatal infant feeding methods are based on recommendations from the BFHI’s Global Standards for infant feeding education. “We aim to enable expectant mothers in their third trimester to discuss how best they can adopt feeding methods that are right for them and their baby. Topics discussed in group sessions with pregnant women include the importance of breastfeeding (benefits to baby and mother), global recommendations on exclusive breastfeeding, risks of giving formula or other breast-milk substitutes, and the fact that breastfeeding continues to be important after six months when other foods are given, the importance of immediate and sustained skin-to-skin contact, early initiation of breastfeeding and importance of rooming-in, basics of good positioning and attachment and recognition of feeding cues.”