Women's Month: Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed regardless of HIV status

Ebony Scott
August 7, 2018

Celebrated in more than 120 countries around the world, "World Breastfeeding Week" is an annual event held every year from August 1 to August 7.

Another obstacle mothers face is discomfort during nursing.

"If your child demands breast milk after six months, you must add in supplements because the baby needs other nutrients too".

When babies consume breast milk, they are less likely to develop respiratory illnesses, diabetes, and other diseases.

"Kenya has made significant strides in doubling the number of babies being exclusively breastfed from 32 per cent in 2008 to 61 per cent, but more needs to be done to ensure that all babies take nothing but breast milk for the first six months of life", said Deputy Head of Nutrition and Dietetics Gladys Mugambi at a media roundtable in Nairobi to mark World Breastfeeding Week that ends tomorrow. Breastfeeding should however continue till at least one year of age.

According to a research by World Health Organization and UNICEF, breastfeeding babies for the first two years would annually save the lives of more than 8,20,000 children under five years of age. It also offers a quiet relaxed time for mother and baby to bond.

According to the National Health Profile Survey (NHFS-4), in Karnataka only 54% of the infants receive exclusive breast feeding.

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He explained that most times mother's milk supply may diminish temporarily if the woman failed to feed her baby often because of nipple pain or due to poor latch-on technique.

It prepared educational materials to demonstrate the various health benefits of breastfeeding in the short and long term for both mother and infant and distributed these materials in various health institutions. It is important to note there are circumstances that make it challenging or not possible to breastfeed. Stunted growth and childhood malnutrition can be mitigated through better breastfeeding practices as one of its major contributors.

"But these are actually signs that the woman's body has adjusted to the baby's feeding requirement".

Activities are planned, throughout the state, to draw attention to the importance of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of mothers and children. During the same period, the rates of early initiation of breastfeeding decreased from 40 per cent to 27 per cent.

Beyond combating marketing of breast milk substitutes, there is need to invest in policies and programmes that support women's breastfeeding.

Eregie noted that optimal breastfeeding - 0-6months (baby friendly) and continued breastfeeding, up to eighteen months, (2yrs), helped females keep their hormones in check, allowing for a natural birth control process, as females only get pregnant after they wean (stop breastfeeding) their child which aid maternal longevity and health.

Other reports by GizPress

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