Statement on Breastfeeding Week (1 - 7 August 2005) | Western Cape Government


Statement on Breastfeeding Week (1 - 7 August 2005)

3 August 2005
Western Cape mothers are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of disease prevention through healthy child feeding habits of which breastfeeding is an important component says Health minister Pierre Uys.

In a statement to highlight national Breastfeeding Week, Uys says a sound and well supported breastfeeding scheme is the foundation of a strong immune system.

"We have been advocating and promoting the advantages of breast feeding in all our health care facilities throughout the province through talks, exhibitions and the distribution of nutrition information in all our health districts and have also had wonderful results with our kangaroo mother care system. This system involves exclusive breastfeeding (mothers only feeding their own babies) with its principle of skin-to-skin contact where the naked baby is placed between the mother's bare breasts and is tied securely with a cloth.

There are many advantages to breastfeeding:

  1. Breastfeeding can reduce infant mortality rates in under five year olds by 19%. (WHO)
  2. Breast fed babies develop faster and show improved cardio-respiratory stability.
  3. When mothers breastfeed hospitals can use existing resources more efficiently and better quality care can be given.
  4. Breastfeeding promotes mother-infant bonding.
  5. It is cheaper and involves less work than bottle feeding and brings about considerable savings in hospital costs.
  6. Breastfeeding improves the immune system of babies
  7. Breastfeeding renders protection against osteoporosis as well as breast and ovarian cancer.
  8. Breastfeeding is more hygienic.
  9. Breastfeeding helps infants to do without artificial teats of pacifiers (dummies or soothers).

Mothers must be made fully aware of these advantages and Breastfeeding Week aims at highlighting them thereby promoting breastfeeding. According to the WHO breastfeeding and improved complementary feeding practices alone, reduced the under 5 year old mortality rate by 19%.

Sound Bites/Enquiries: Min Uys 0824555144

Herman vd Westhuizen: 0827729161.

Ms H Isaacs
Ministry of Health
4 Dorp Street, Cape Town
Telephone: 021 483 5477
Fax: 021 4834143

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