GRH has passionate advocates for breastfeeding, including paediatricians like Dr. Cecile Davey.
Dr. Davey has always had a strong interest and passion for paediatrics – specifically neonatology or the care of newborns. Whether she is providing medical assistance and restoration to a child’s health or providing support for the family, Dr. Davey brings her passion with her each step of the way.
She believes you can never be bored in paediatrics because there is always so much to learn and to stay on top of, such as the latest developments in treatments and diagnostics. Her joy comes from making a difference in a child’s life – no matter how big or small.
In her ten years at GRH, she has watched and supported the hospital’s efforts to become a WHO/UNICEF “Baby-Friendly Hospital” in support of breastfeeding for newborns.
What made you want to become a pediatrician?
Children have always been very special to me. It is such a joy to help them, from babies to young adults.
You can never be bored in paediatrics because the various disease states and neurodevelopment is ever-changing throughout the first 18 years of life. One has to be constantly on their toes to keep up with the latest developments in treatments and diagnostic measures. It is wonderful to be able to make a difference in a child’s life, no matter how small, in terms of addressing the physical ailments and helping parents foster their development. It is so rewarding to help restore a child to normal health; and if that is not possible – to provide support for their families.
Why is breastfeeding important?
There is so much positive research about the psychological benefits to a mother and baby with regards to breastfeeding. Not to mention the immunoprotection it offers in the first six months, and that breast milk provides the exact nutritional content which is vital to the baby’s growth.
There is also a lot of research showing positive long-term benefits in IQ and protection from chronic diseases later in life. There are also the maternal health benefits as well – reduction in breast and ovarian cancers, delay in postpartum ovulation and increased loss of the ‘pregnancy weight.’ In addition, this helps to reduce further costs to the healthcare system.
What is the difference between bottle-feeding and breastfeeding?
Formula feeds need scrupulous preparation to prevent contamination with organisms which can cause infection in the baby.
Breastfeeding is much more economical for families – no need to buy formulas, bottles and sterilizing equipment.
Are there any differences in nutrients between formula and breast milk?
Many formulas now are pretty good. However, breast milk has the best balance of essential nutrients for the healthy growth of a baby and usually is more easily digested.
What short- and long-term benefits does breastfeeding provide to a baby/child?
There is a lot of research to show that human milk decreases the incidence of many infections common to childhood such as gastroenteritis, respiratory tract infections, ear inflammation and even urinary tract infections and meningitis.
Studies have shown that exclusive breastfeeding reduces hospital admissions secondary to infections by as much as 30 per cent in the first year of life. There is also a decrease in the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), although sleeping position and smoking remain the two biggest risk factors. Studies have also shown higher performance in tests of neurocognitive functioning.
What is the typical age range that a mother should begin and end breastfeeding?
Currently the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) guidelines suggest exclusive breastfeeding from birth until six months of age. Although the duration after this is dependent on the mother, most children seem to wean themselves before age 2. However both the WHO and CPS state that breastfeeding can continue even beyond that age.