The Ministry of Health has noted that the competitiveness in the employment sector is one of the big challenges that are failing mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The 2016 Demographic and Health Survey Report indicates that only 66% of children under the age of six months are exclusively breastfed while 2% are not breastfed at all.
Speaking to the press at Parliament during the Breast Feeding Week, the State Minister for Health in charge of General Duties, Sarah Opendi said that with the high levels of unemployment and in circumstances where some employers don’t give leave to mothers, this forces many to abandon their babies at home as they struggle to maintain their jobs.
Other factors include the young mothers who fear for their breast will sagging as well as the HIV positive mothers who still have fear they might pass on the virus to their children during breastfeeding.
“We are in a very competitive world today with a lot of unemployment. Some employers don’t even want to hear of their employers getting pregnant,” Opendi said.
“These are conversations going on, we have been encouraging employers to set up breast feeding corners to enable mothers to move with their babies to work and continue breast feeding,” the Minister added.
However, Opendi has assured the HIV positive mothers who are on treatment not to deny their children the health benefits in breastfeeding as these remain safe up to the age of two years.
She further encouraged working mothers to pump their breast milk, refrigerate and store it in clean and safe containers then feed their babies on formula milk that is not of much value compared to breast milk.
Meanwhile, Opendi has still cautioned the men against drinking their babies’ breast milk.
“Some research and confessions have shown that some men enjoy suckling breast milk. I want to discourage this because some consume the milk and the babies are left with nothing to suckle,” Opendi said.