- Authorities concerned over young mothers’ unwillingness to breastfeed
Most young mothers are said to be unwilling to breastfeed their babies immediately after birth claiming they do not produce any or enough milk, thereby depriving their newborn babies all adequate nutrients and antibodies they so much need.
This was revealed by Letsholathebe II Memorial Hospital midwife Gasefetole Balapi at the commemoration of breastfeeding week which was held under the theme ‘Step up breastfeeding, educate and support’ recently.
Balapi highlighted that breastfeeding provides a baby with nutrients and antibodies that protect against illnesses that are common in babies. She further said it is highly recommended that breastfeeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth and continued for the first 6 months of life with appropriate, safe and adequate complementary foods at six months, and continued up to two years or beyond.
She added that the very first milk which seems to be watery is needed by the new born as it contains high amounts of antibodies. She has encouraged new mothers to breastfeed the baby immediately in order for them to receive those important antibodies.
Balapi has also encouraged breastfeeding mothers to give their babies enough time to feed and to be in the right posture so that they baby is able to suck out milk properly without chocking or not getting enough milk.
Chief Registered Nurse at Moeti Clinic Alice Kwerepe raised awareness about the risks and disadvantages of formula milk especially in vulnerable populations. She stated that the bottles used for giving formula milk can be easily contaminated and cause diseases.
“Nearly half of diarrhoea episodes and one third of respiratory infections are due to lack of breastfeeding,” she said.
Kwerepe also said that breastfeeding was also economically viable as mothers do not need to buy milk, feeding bottles, brushes used to wash and also the expensive sterilizing liquids used.
“Do not start formula milk immediately after maternity leave but instead pump some milk for the baby so that they continue with breast milk for at least for two years to ensure the baby gets the necessary nutrition needed,” she advised.
Meanwhile Specially Elected Councilor Hon Brigadier Letsogile Motsumi indicated breastfeeding is a human right that needs to be respected, protected and promoted.
Motsumi also noted that nutrient education and counseling on breastfeeding is conducted every month during Ante Natal Care for pregnant women and Child Welfare clinic visits, and therefore encouraged mothers to always attend as the practice has been found to be very effective.
Motsumi has also called on parents and the community at large to come together to support, promote and protect breastfeeding as it reduces inequalities amongst individuals, communities and nations.
He urged employers as well to provide breastfeeding friendly work environment to support breastfeeding mothers.