Breastfeeding declared healthy

Efforts to promote breastfeeding among women took centre stage on Friday August 17, when the City of Cape Town’s Health Department and the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched a breastfeeding programme at the Langa Clinic.

Dr Andile Zimba, the City’s area manager for health, stressed the importance of breastfeeding.

“A child’s health is most vulnerable during the first 1000 days, from conception until a child’s second birthday,” he said.

He said breastfeeding offered a unique opportunity to shape the child’s health. Figures in the amount of children being breastfed are very low, he said. He said only 38% of children under 6 months were exclusively breastfed, but the WHO wanted to increase the number to 50% by 2025.

He added that breastfeeding protected children against diseases and gave children crucial nutrients.

“As a result, we as the health department are recruiting and training infant feeding councillors to encourage mothers to breastfeed,” he said.

Zimba said the clinic was breastfeeding friendly. He said mothers who were uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public could do so privately.

“We also want to encourage workplaces to be more breastfeeding friendly, because breastfeeding is the universal solution to a child’s health. This grants the child the opportunity for a first start in life,” he concluded.

Zuziwe Mangwatha,40, is mother to a one-year old baby boy, who has been breastfeeding her son since birth, said she will continue to do so. She feels that breastfeeding is very important.

“My child does not get sick because he is breastfed and I save a lot of money because I don’t have to buy milk. I encourage other parents to breastfeed as well because it will prevent the child from getting diarrhoea and vomiting,” she said.

Nothemba Gobodo,30, a mother to a 17-month old baby girl, said that mothers should breastfeed because it can act as a form of contraceptive, preventing getting pregnant, as it stops ones menstrual cycle.