WHILE the world breastfeeding week came to an end on Tuesday, the KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo has urged all mothers to breastfeed their children for as long as possible and for society to stop making women feel uncomfortable to breastfeed in public.This year’s week was celebrated under the theme Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life.
“There is merit in breastfeeding. If you give your child breast milk, you’re giving them food and also medicine to protect them against early childhood illnesses. So we really want to advocate for this. We are also not happy about people who are saying babies must not breastfeed in public and that babies must only eat in the corners, or in the bathrooms and in the toilet. This means when you’re in a restaurant, you must deny your baby food, because that is considered a bad space to breastfeed. So, we really want to talk about those issues. We need to get community dialogues on breastfeeding and issues that might discourage women from breastfeeding,” said Dhlomo.
Meanwhile, for mothers who cannot breastfeed their children, the Department has established human milk banks at 15 hospitals across the province. A human milk bank is a service that screens, collects, processes, and distributes human breast to these mothers.
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This includes mothers of babies who are born pre-term; who may be sick; have low birth-weight; and mothers who pass away. This milk is donated by volunteer breastfeeding mothers who are not related to the recipient babies. Mothers interested in donating their excess breast milk undergo a health screening.
All donated breast milk is tested, pasteurised, and frozen and ready to be supplied to vulnerable babies in need. All healthy breastfeeding women can donate breast milk. However, they should be: non-smokers; non drug and alcohol users; live a healthy lifestyle and must be willing to undergo testing for HIV, Syphilis, TB and Hepatitis B. Milk Banks are available at the following KZN health Facilities: Addington hospital, Bethesda hospital, Dundee hospital, Edendale hospital, GJ Crookes hospital, Grey’s hospital, King Edward VIII hospital, Ladysmith hospital, Lower Umfolozi War Memorial hospital, Mahatma Gandhi Memorial hospital, Murchison hospital, Newcastle Hospital, Port Shepstone hospital, RK Khan hospital, and Stanger hospital.
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