World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is celebrated across the globe from the 1st to the 7th of August every year. It is an ongoing effort to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding to the children, mothers, and communities. Breastfeeding is part of the global agenda towards reducing child mortality (death) and morbidity (sicknesses).

Current statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that only 32% of mothers exclusively breastfeed (giving breast milk only) for the first 6 months in South Africa. The low breastfeeding rate may be blamed on inadequate information on breastfeeding and lack of support for breastfeeding mothers.

The slogan for World Breastfeeding Week 2019 is “EMPOWER PARENTS: ENABLE BREASTFEEDING”. Breastfeeding is team effort. It requires information and support (from fathers, partners, families, workplace and communities) to create an enabling environment that empowers mothers to breastfeed optimally.

How can we help breastfeeding mothers to successfully breast feed their babies?

  1. Family/ partner:
  • Respect the mother’s decision to breastfeed.
  • Respect the mother’s decision to express breast milk, to ensure baby gets milk when the mother is away.
  • Help her with routine household chores e.g. cooking, washing and ironing, so that she may rest and have enough time to breastfeed.

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