By: Poelano Malema
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August.
The week is aimed at raising awareness about the importance of breastfeeding.
The World Health Organisation states: “Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival.”
It offers babies the nutrients they need.
“Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses,” states WHO.
It recommends that children are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their lives.
How to breastfeed
New moms often struggle with the right position to breastfeed their babies.
SisterBavely Sebola, the Maternity Unit Manager at Life Carstenhof Hospital in Gauteng, says breastfeeding mothers can suffer from back pain if they do not breastfeed their children in the right position.
“When you are breastfeeding, the head should be on your elbow because the elbow is able to bring the baby to the breast and not the mother taking the breast to the baby as that will prevent the mother from having backpains,” says the nurse.
When will new moms start to get free flowing milk?
Sometimes new mothers struggle to get free flowing milk. The nurse says they shouldn’t worry, as the first milk that comes out is still nutritious.
“You will start to have free flowing milk from day three and day five.
“The first milk that you still have now is called colostrum which is the most important and nutritious milk, and it also boosts the baby’s immune system,” says the sister.
Is breastmilk filling?
Breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one third during the second year of life- WHO
Sister Sebola says that the baby will have everything they need, even water. Therefore, there is no need to worry about feeding the baby anything else at an early stage, except breastmilk.
How many times should babies be fed?
On the question of how many times per day babies should be fed, sister Sebola says it should always be determined by the baby’s demand.
“We feed on demand. We don’t feed three-hourly, two-hourly, like we do with formula milk,” says the expert.
“If the baby wants to breastfeed every ten minutes, we give,” she adds.
This is “because with breastmilk, the body can absorb everything that he has got from the breast and not leave anything for waste product,” says the expert.
To read more about the benefits of breastfeeding, click here.
Image courtesy of Pexels/ @ Mehmet Turgut