Queen out­lines breast­feed­ing benefits

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

Her Majesty, Queen ‘ Mase­n­ate Mo­hato Seeiso, yes­ter­day em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of ex­clu­sive breast­feed­ing to both the mother and child.

Ad­dress­ing del­e­gates to a spe­cial break­fast meet­ing in Maseru, Her Majesty said giv­ing a child his or her mother’s milk only for the first six months af­ter birth en­sures bet­ter healthy, both men­tally and phys­i­cally. Yes­ter­day’s meet­ing looked at Le­sotho’s 2014 De­mo­graphic Health Sur­vey (LDHS) in­di­ca­tors, and was held un­der the theme: ‘ ex­clu­sive Breast­feed­ing is doable, Ba­sotho you can do it’.

Her Majesty said: “Stud­ies have shown that chil­dren who are ex­clu­sively breast­fed have a bet­ter chance of sur­vival com­pared to those who didn’t.”her Majesty also noted Breast­feed­ing Week is com­mem­o­rated glob­ally from 1-7 Au­gust and as pa­tron of the ini­tia­tive in Le­sotho since 2004, she vis­its the coun­try’s out­ly­ing dis­tricts and meets with moth­ers and the gen­eral public to talk about the im­por­tance of ex­clu­sive breast­feed­ing.

“One of the rea­sons for my vis­its to the dis­tricts is to try and en­cour­age breast­feed­ing and mon­i­tor whether what we have been preach­ing for the past 10 years about it has been well-re­ceived by the peo­ple,” she said.

“I must say that I’m very proud of what we have achieved be­cause from 2004 to 2014, there has been pos­i­tive progress. In 2004, only 36 per­cent of moth­ers were ex­clu­sively breast­feed­ing, and in 2009, the num­ber went up by 54 per­cent and in 2014, it had in­creased to 67 per­cent.

“With th­ese num­bers, it shows that our mes­sages are reach­ing out to moth­ers and the public in gen­eral. It is my hope that by 2020, the fig­ures would have gone up again. I will con­tinue ap­peal­ing to moth­ers to breast­feed their chil­dren and we must be able to reach the set in­ter­na­tional tar­gets and stan­dards.”

How­ever, the Queen noted a lot still needs to be done to achieve the de­sired 100-per­cent tar­get.

“I know we can do this and have chil­dren who are phys­i­cally and men­tally healthy.

“Let’s make it our re­spon­si­bil- ity, as par­ents, to en­sure that our chil­dren grow-up in good health through un­der­tak­ings such as breast­feed­ing,” Her Majesty said.

On his part, the Min­is­ter of Health, Dr Molotsi Monya­mane, con­grat­u­lated those who have been ed­u­cat­ing moth­ers about the im­por­tance of breast­feed­ing.

“We also want to thank th­ese in­di­vid­u­als for cham­pi­oning men to en­cour­age women to breast­feed their ba­bies,” Dr Monya­mane said.

“With­out healthy chil­dren, we are not go­ing to have a healthy na­tion.”

Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO), ex­clu­sive breast­feed­ing means an in­fant is only fed her mother’s milk, and no other liq­uids or solids.

The child is not even given wa­ter to drink, with the ex­cep­tion of oral re­hy­dra­tion so­lu­tion, or drops and syrups of vi­ta­mins, min­er­als or medicines.who also notes breast­feed­ing has many health benefits for both the mother and in­fant. “Breast milk con­tains all the nu­tri­ents an in­fant needs in the first six months of life.

“There­after, to meet their evolv­ing nu­tri­tional re­quire­ments, in­fants should re­ceive nu­tri­tion­ally ad­e­quate and safe com­ple­men­tary foods, while con­tin­u­ing to breast­feed for up to two years or be­yond,” WHO high­lights.

“Breast­feed­ing protects against di­ar­rhea and com­mon child­hood ill­nesses such as pneu­mo­nia, and may also have longer-term health benefits for the mother and child, such as re­duc­ing the risk of over­weight and obe­sity in child­hood and ado­les­cence.”

Ac­cord­ing to Her Majesty, it was “im­por­tant that moth­ers prac­tice what sci­en­tists sug­gest” as this benefits their fam­i­lies

Queen ‘Mase­n­ate Mo­hato Seeiso speaks dur­ing yes­ter­day’s break­fast meet­ing.

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