This year’s breastfeeding week theme has been “Supporting breastfeeding for a healthier planet”. In line with this theme, WHO and UNICEF are calling on governments to protect and promote women’s access to skilled breastfeeding counselling, a critical component of breastfeeding support. As the annual one week celebration comes to an end today for the year 2020 here are some tips on healthy breastfeeding during this pandemic period:
- Ensure you clean hands for minimum 20 seconds before breastfeeding
- Put on a face mask during each feeding
- Reach out to a local lactation care provider if you have any problem during breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding promotes cognitive development in children
- Breastfed children are less susceptible to chronic & infectious diseases
Breastmilk contains antioxidants, enzymes and antibodies that provide infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Research shows breastfeeding not only benefits the infant but it’s of greater benefit to the mother. It reduces the mother’s risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, breast and ovarian cancer. Despite the fact that breastfeeding is a natural process, mothers need all the support they can get both to get started and sustain breastfeeding.
Global breastfeeding bodies are calling on the government to;
- INVEST to make skilled breastfeeding counselling available to every woman. Ensuring availability of skilled breastfeeding counselling to every woman will require increased financing for breastfeeding programs and improved monitoring and implementation of policies, programs and services.
- TRAIN health care workers, including midwives and nurses, to deliver skilled breastfeeding counselling to mothers and families.
- ENSURE that counselling is made available as part of routine health and nutrition services that are easily accessible.
- PARTNER and collaborate with civil society and health professional associations, building strong collaborative systems for provision of appropriate counselling.
- PROTECT health care workers from the influence of the baby food industry