BREASTFEEDING mothers need support at home, the workplace, and everywhere to protect children against forms of malnutrition.
World Vision Health and Nutrition specialist for Eastern Cluster, Mr Kasei Msuya, as part of commemorating World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) issued the advice on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam. Mr Msuya said lack of support from partners, family members, community and negative beliefs can influence feeding decisions. “Everybody plays a significant role in promoting and supporting breastfeeding.
WBW should not be a thing for one week, it’s crucial to think on how you can protect, promote as well as support breastfeeding women and babies all year round,” he said He added, “While breastfeeding is thought of as something that just happens between a mother and her child, in reality, a mother cannot do it on her own.
Not only does she need the wisdom and guidance of more mature women, but the mother needs time, resources, and, if she has a job, family-friendly policies such as paid maternity leave, access to childcare, breastfeeding breaks and devoted nursing spaces,” According to him, many women stop breastfeeding because of a variety of factors, such as the complexity of working, cultural norms and little awareness of breastfeeding value.
He said World Vision protects, encourages and supports exclusive breastfeeding from birth until six months of age and continued breastfeeding with complementary feeding until two years of age and beyond, as per World Health Organization (WHO) infant feeding recommendations.
The Nutrition specialist said mothers can breastfeed, provided they have correct information and support within their families and communities as well as from healthcare specialist.
In Tanzania, 98 per cent of children are breastfed, 51 per cent of babies were breastfed within the first hour of existence while 14 per cent of ever breastfed children got a prelacteal feed before initiating breastfeeding, opposed to WHO recommendations, corresponding to Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS) OF 2015/2016.
This year’s WBW, under its theme ‘Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility’ focus on how breastfeeding contributes to the survival, health and wellbeing, and the imperative to protect breastfeeding worldwide. The week is celebrated every year from August 1-7 all over the globe to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
World Vision Tanzania, Health and Nutrition Acting Team Leader, Mr Rayman Mwangosi said in supporting breastfeeding from October 2020–July this year, they have trained over 500 Community Health Workers to support exclusive breastfeeding counselling for pregnant and lactating women.
“During the time, we have approached 10,000 women and trained them on nourishment and breastfeeding, 700 men who are champions in their districts on such issues. We conducted such interventions in 15 regions and 38 districts in Tanzania,” he said.