ONLY eight percent of South African women are believed to be breastfeeding their babies.
This was indicated by clinical dietitian Dr. Innocent Kazimbe while speaking to expecting mothers at the pregnancy week awareness campaign in Queenstown Life Healthcare Hospital on Thursday.
“Countries like Rwanda and Somalia have the highest breast feeding rate because the people have no other alternative means.”
Kazimbe said the benefits of breast feeding were a strengthened bond between a mother and the baby, a reduction in doctor visits and less constipation and diarrhea.
He said a mistake made by many mothers was feeding their babies solid food before they reached six months.
“This affects the baby’s intestines because they are not yet fully developed to digest proper food. There is no substitute for breast milk.”
“Breast milk can be kept in a fridge and if there is none, in a cool, dry area. The milk should not be microwaved as it will destroy the nutrients which the baby thrives on. It should be placed in luke warm water instead.
Kazimbe said health professionals should encourage mothers to breast feed.