The City of Ekurhuleni has joined the world community to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week to promote health and sustainable development. World Breastfeeding Week is from 1 to 7 August.
The city’s Maternal, Child, Women and Men’s health manager Thembane Masina has encouraged exclusive breastfeeding by both HIV negative or positive mothers.
“For infants to survive, grow and develop as they should, they need to be exclusively breastfed. Doing so will strengthen their immune system, creating a resistance to life-threatening illnesses regardless of their mother’s HIV status” said Masina.
HIV positive breastfeeding mothers are given a fixed-dose combination drug that is a combination of two or more antiretroviral (ARV) drugs in one pill which allows them to also exclusively breastfeed their babies, preventing a mother-to-child transmission during the infant feeding period.
Breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of life after birth and should not be replaced by formula milk, juice or water. After six months, breastfeeding should be continued along with other nourishing foods for the baby.
Masina further stated that mothers may have observed that health practitioners at clinics encourage the natural breastfeeding as opposed to bottle feeding as they may harbour infections on the artificial tit.
Mothers who may experience challenges with breastfeeding such as, engorgement, nipple pain/trauma or when the baby won’t latch to the breast are encouraged to visit their nearest clinic for assistance.
The city has nutritionists and dieticians who visit Ekurhuleni primary health care facilities to educate mothers on how to effectively breastfeed.