Mahalapye West Member of Parliament, Mr Bernard Bolele has encouraged mothers to breast feed their babies.
Officiating at the World Breast Feeding week in Mahalapye recently, Mr Bolele said breast feeding was important as it gave babies all the nutrients they need for healthy development while containing antibodies that protected children against common childhood illnesses.
Mr Bolele said breast feeding played a significant role in preventing malnutrition. He added that malnutrition contributed to a third of deaths among children under five.
The MP also noted that breast feeding not only benefits babies, but also mothers by reducing the risks of breast and ovarian cancer.
Mr Bolele said there was a need for a community support group system for mothers to encourage breast feeding.
He said some support should also come from health care providers and community leaders by sensitising the community on the importance of breast feeding.
He urged fathers to always accompany their partners during labour to give them support.
He said men should also ensure that their babies receive correct nutrients that are available through breast feeding.
Giving the objectives of the breast feeding week, a registered nurse, Ms Boingotlo Garekwe, said the commemoration sought to draw attention to the importance of peer support in helping mothers to establish and sustain breast feeding.
Ms Garekwe also said there was a need to identify local community support contacts for breast feeding mothers so that women could go for help and support after giving birth.