CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Breastfeeding is God’s gift to babies

HONG KONG (SE): A symposium on promoting breastfeeding, organised by the Catholic Messengers of Green Consciousness in cooperation with the Hong Kong Catholic Breastfeeding Association and the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, was held at the Catholic Diocese Centre, Caine Road, on December 17. 
Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung said in his opening message that that babies are born to be breastfed. He explained that natural birth and breastfeeding are in God’s plan and mother’s milk is the best gift for a baby. 
He said breastfeeding is a beautiful time of intimacy between mother and child and is good for growth. He said a mother should not only consider its benefits to the baby’s immune system, but also the mystery of God’s creation of life and his love for people.
Cheng Pui-yan, a doctor from the Family Health Service of the Department of Health, sharing the advice from the World Health Organisation, said babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months without any formula to achieve optimal growth and that this should continue for up to two years or beyond. 
She pointed out that besides antibodies that fortify the immune system, mother’s milk also includes nutrients that are good for the development of a baby’s brain, eyesight and digestive system.
She urged employers to offer a breastfeeding-friendly workplace by setting aside a time and place for collecting breast milk during working hours. She also called for people not to disturb mothers breastfeeding in public places.
According to her, the number of breastfeeding mothers has increased from over 44 per cent in 1997 to more than 86 per cent in 2016.
Breastfeeding rooms have also been set up in some parishes in Hong Kong for mothers and their babies who are attending Mass.
Sum Wan-chi joined a support group for families with newborn babies run by the Catholic Messengers of Green Consciousness. She and her husband shared of their joy in welcoming their babies and how they persevered in breastfeeding.
The support group aims to journey with mothers—as well as their husbands—from pregnancy until their child reaches five years of age. Led by medical practitioners and other volunteers, it provides professional advice to help families build their relationship in God’s love and grace. 

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