This week, the world celebrates World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2012 – and the MCHIP team in Kenya is wasting no time in championing this public health intervention and its crucial role in improving childhood nutrition.
Today, The Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation kicked off WBW with a media breakfast at the Sarova Panafric Hotel to sensitize the media and the public on the relationship between proper child nutrition and the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding. These benefits include defense against infection and support of mother-baby bonding, among others.
In addition, WBW activities in Kenya will include:
A meeting of more than 100 pregnant mothers in Nairobi hosted by The Division of Nutrition with support from USAID/MCHIP to educated attendees on the issues around exclusive breastfeeding.
A WBW launch in Bondo District in Nyanza Province, supported by USAID/MCHIP.
Similar launches in all Provinces of the country, mainly supported by the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and partners within the Provinces.
Kenya is committed to supporting its breastfeeding mothers and their families, and is dedicated to reaching a goal of 80% of Kenyan mothers exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months. This UNICEF video celebrates mothers in Kenya who breastfeed and stresses that breastfeeding for the first six months “is the best start” you can give a baby in life.
As an example of Kenya’s commitment to breastfeeding, any female Kenyan employee is entitled to three months maternity leave with full pay, and any male employee is entitled to two weeks paternity leave to support a spouse during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Mothers are also entitled to their annual leave even after their three month maternity leave is done.
Start breastfeeding within 30 minutes after delivering your baby.
Give your baby only breast milk during the first 6 months.
Feed your baby as often as he wants during day and night, at least 8-12 times in 24 hours.
Let your baby continue suckling from one breast until he stops on his own.
Continue breastfeeding for 2 years or longer.
If a mother correctly holds and positions her baby, and correctly attaches her baby to the breast, breastfeeding will become much easier for both. This can help improve how much milk her baby gets, and will contribute to the health of both mother and child. The following examples illustrate more clearly how this can be achieved:
Succeeding in breastfeeding is important, because breast milk is the perfect human food. It is made for babies and has all the necessary nutrients in proper proportions. In addition, breast milk:
Digests easily without causing constipation;
Protects against diarrhea;
Provides antibodies that protect against common illnesses;
Protects against infection, including ear infections; and
During illness, helps keep baby well hydrated.
Breastfeeding is a rewarding experience, but mothers need support to help them succeed. Fathers, grandmothers, and other family members play a huge role in supporting mothers and their children, forming a happy, healthy family. Learn what you can do to become a breastfeeding advocate and better support the new mothers in your life!
And for more information – and answers to frequently asked questions by mothers and caregivers – click here.