South Africa: Ekurhuleni Marks World Breastfeeding Week

The City of Ekurhuleni marked the World Breastfeeding Week by hosting a workshop at Barcelona in Etwatwa to impart knowledge and encourage young mothers to breastfeed.

"This was also to give new mothers the confidence not to forsake breastfeeding their children due to lack of private spaces as it is not a taboo to breastfeed in public," said the City's spokesperson Nhlanhla Cebekhulu.

Eighteen-year-old Promise Phasha - who is a new mother to a one-month-old baby - was among the mothers who attended the workshop.

Promise said she enjoys everything about motherhood but she has been worried about feeding her child breastmilk only without supplementing it with formula milk.

Promise's baby, Yakhokuhle, was born prematurely at seven months.

"Nurses encouraged me to breastfeed my child to assist his bone development. I never thought he would survive with just breastmilk only, but now he is making good progress, and he is healthy and strong," said Promise.

New mothers and those who have breastfed before shared their experiences and encouraged each other to breastfeed their little ones.

Challenges highlighted by the breastfeeding mothers range from weight gain and loss while breastfeeding, swelling of the breasts and babies refusing to eat real food after the first six months of compulsory breastfeeding.

However, the City's health officials attended the World Breastfeeding commemoration to allay the mothers' fears and concerns and to empower them with more knowledge on how to breastfeed and the importance thereof.

The breastfeeding commemoration activities included information sharing on family planning, sexual health education, voluntary HIV/AIDS testing and child immunization.

Ekurhuleni's Head of Women and Children Directorate Lindiwe Khonjelwayo encouraged mothers to register births of their newborn babies with Home Affairs timeously, and to breastfeed and immunize them.

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