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Only two out of ten in Cyprus breastfeed exclusively

By Annette Chrysostomou

Only two out of ten women breastfeed exclusively in Cyprus, and one in ten does not breastfeed at all. This is a low figure which recent research has brought to light, the Cyprus association of breastfeeding said.

The World Health Organisation recommends that women breastfeed exclusively for six months, and for at least two years – with supplementary foods.

Aiming to promote this, the Cypriot association organises a yearly breastfeeding event. This year, it has the theme ‘breastfeeding and work: let’s make it work’. It will take place on October 10 in five Cyprus towns simultaneously.

Registration for the actual breastfeeding starts at 10am, and women breastfeed together for one minute at 11am. Afterwards, there is time for fun until around 12pm.

“The event is for the whole family,” Ilia Paphiti from the association said on Wednesday.  “We have activities for the older children, and we also have gifts.”

She said that the event is very successful, with more than 150 people attending in Nicosia alone last year.

In Nicosia the event takes place at the Philoxenia conference centre, in Limassol at Pizza Mia, in Larnaca at Mediterranean high school, in Paphos at the Evangelismos hospital and in Paralimni at the town hall.

The event is sponsored by the European economic area (EEA).

Since the EEA agreement in 1994, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have provided funding to reduce social and economic disparities in the European Union. Among others, they have started the programme ‘a breast start in life: addressing social inequalities supporting breastfeeding through inclusion activities’. The breastfeeding event is funded through this programme.

The Cyprus Association of Breastfeeding ‘gift of life’ was founded in 2009 by paediatricians, parents and other advocates of breastfeeding in order to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. The Association carries out monthly meetings to inform pregnant women and new parents about breastfeeding and strengthen their support network to be able to offer their children the “Gift of Life” called breastfeeding. They also maintain a hotline to support mothers who breastfeed or want to breastfeed.

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