Health benefits of breastfeeding

Health promoter at Mfuleni clinic, Mfundo Mtisane, encourages mothers to keep on breast-feeding their children.

Mfuleni clinic hopes to highlight the importance of breastfeeding by hosting regular breastfeeding competitions.

On Friday October 20, the clinic held the inaugural baby competition to encourage and motivate mothers to breastfeed, immunise their children and constantly visit the clinic to check their children’s health status.

At a packed clinic, nurses and social workers highlighted the importance of breastfeeding during the first 1000 days (two-and-a-half years) of a child’s life.

Health promoter at the clinic Mfudo Mtisane said mothers would get it right in terms of nutrition if they breast-feed during the first two years.

He said mothers needed to know that breastfeeding had benefits for health and wellbeing of their babies.

Mr Mtisane urged young mothers to breastfeed. He said most refuse to breast-feed, fearing it would affect their breast shape negatively“Breastfeeding a child for that two years helps protect infants from childhood illnesses,” he said. “We have a problem of young mothers who do not want to breastfeed simply because they want to look good.

There is no such thing. They need to breastfeed their babies, period. They should know the advantages of that. We are urging them because breastfeeding also contributes to long-term health.”

Mr Mtisane urged the mothers to spread the word on the advantages of breastfeeding.

Sister Nomhle Mothi also stressed the need to breast-feed. She said it gave babies the best start in life. “ Mothers in particular, need to breastfeed.

“It is the doorway to a child’s health. If mothers increase the duration, the results are great. There will be a decrease in diseases and child deaths. It is important that children eat well at all times,” she said.

Sister Mothi said adults who were breast-fed as babies often had lower chances of contracting diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and others.

She said those who were well breastfed are healthier.

Social worker at Afrika Tikkun, Noluvo Tobi, stressed the importance of immunisation and deworming for children. She said mothers seemed to forget that children needed to attend all the irimmunisation appointments.

She urged mothers to stop mix-feeding children.

“No water and no gripe water for six months. We do not mix-feed children at all. Ours is to breastfeed and breast-feed. We need to avoid things like diarrhoea,” she said.Mother Vuyokazi Ntanyongo said she has been attending the clinic and its awareness campaigns and was happy with such campaigns. She said one of the things she learnt was never to overfeed a child. She called on other mothers to attend such awareness campaigns.