The Ekurhuleni metro has joined the world community to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week to promote health and sustainable development.
The metro’s 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 breastfed. Doing so will strengthen their immune system and create a resistance to life-threatening illnesses regardless of their mother’s HIV status,” Masina said.
Masina said HIV positive breastfeeding mothers are given a fixed-dose combination drug that is a combination of two or more 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 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 said.
Masina said mothers may have observed that health practitioners at clinics encourage 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 metro has nutritionists and dietitians who visit Ekurhuleni primary healthcare facilities to educate mothers on how to effectively breastfeed.