With an alarming low rate of breast feeding among mothers all around South Africa, the Department of Health Makana sub district has embarked on a campaign to encourage the practice, and held a breastfeeding talk, targeting not only mothers but everyone in the community, at Jauka Hall in Nemato last Wednesday.
The nutrition and health promotion talk was conducted in collaboration with Ndlambe Municipality.
The first week of August is breast feeding awareness week according to the health calendar.
Mothers brought their little ones along with them to hear for themselves about the importance of breast milk for their babies. Mothers from Bathurst, braving the cold, rainy weather, arrived 30 minutes late to the event.
Siphokazi Mangqalaza from the health promotion unit opened the talk, explaining why it is important for mothers to breast feed until the babies are at least six months old.
“We all know that breast feeding is very good for babies, and the reason for that is that breast milk has all the nutrients that the baby needs. Mixed feeding on the other hand has always been a problem, because the baby is very small we don’t advise mothers to use any other foods to feed the child but to only use breastfeed.”
“The number of mothers who stop breastfeeding their babies has gone up and that is very concerning to us because it slows the development of the baby, and affects their brains later on in life. We are alarmed by the figures and we don’t know the reason for this but it is not safe for babies. We know that some of you are influenced by some of the elderly people that you live with at home,” Mangqalaza said.
Phumla Hermans, also from the department of health, mentioned the importance of using mugs instead of bottles, for hygienic reasons.
“It’s important to rather use a mug than using baby bottles. We say this because mugs can be easily sterilised. A bottle on other hand keeps the dirt of the milk and it is hard to clean it properly, especially the top part that could cause mouth thrush,” Hermans said.
The talk entailed different activities. Not only were mothers taught about what to do, they were also given the opportunity to ask many questions concerning their health together with their baby.
At the end of the talk they were the ones being asked question and whoever got the answers right got a prize of a fleece blanket and sanitary pads.