By Lulutani Tembo UNICEF Malawi
Every 1-7 August, the world commemorates World Breastfeeding Week.
The theme for this year’s week is “empower parents, enable breastfeeding”. Breastfeeding is a vital part of providing every child with the healthiest start to life. Breast milk contains a baby’s first vaccines, is the best source of nutrition and boosts brain development. When mothers breastfeed, everyone benefits. Yet, worldwide, less than 40 per cent of children under the age of six months are fed only breastmilk.
Breastfeeding requires encouragement and support from many people. This includes family members, employers and health care providers. With support from the EU, Germany, Korea, UK and US, UNICEF is working in districts across Malawi to encourage exclusive breastfeeding.
Voices of Malawian mothers
“This is the way to position the baby on the breast when breastfeeding. Good positioning is important because it helps the baby to suck properly and brings attachment between the baby and the mother” – Hawa Sharia from Salima
“Washing hands before breastfeeding reduces infections as the mother may have been using her hands to work or handle things that may contain germs which can give the baby diarrhea” – Mercy Maleta from Kasungu
“My baby has just turned six months old. I continue to breastfeed him as I introduce him to other foods.” – Gertrude Wisik from Nkhotakota
Atupele Mbughi from Salima District on breastfeeding her son Lughano: “He only eats after I breastfeed him. If I don’t do so, he eats very little or not at all.”
Jacqueline Davison attends the Dalitso care group in TA Malemia, Chikwawa. The care group promoters advise her on the importance of practicing good hygiene when breastfeeding.
Thokozile Tchongwe is both a breastfeeding mother and care group promoter at Tiyanjane and Motomoto care groups in Mzimba District.
To find out more about breastfeeding, visit the Internet of Good Things Malawi