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Step up for breast feeding education

• Aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes are among known identified challenges that hinder breast feeding of infants in the country.
• Breast milk meets all nutritional requirements of babies up to 6 months of their lives.
• When children are 6 months, breast feeding mothers should commence feeding their babies with nutrient-dense complementary foods.

National Food and Nutrition Commission of Zambia has urged citizens to step up for breast feeding education and support to curb stunting in children.

Commission District Nutrition Support Coordinator for Chongwe, Prudence Bwalya said inadequate knowledge on benefits of breast milk and aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes among mothers are known identified challenges that hinder breast feeding of infants in the country.

Ms. Bwalya reminded mothers that Breast milk meets all nutritional requirements of babies up to 6 months of their lives and gives the first form of protection from diseases and infections.

“The known identified challenges that hinder breast feeding of infants in the country among others include inadequate knowledge among mothers on the benefits of breast milk, lack of a conducive breastfeeding feeding environment especially for working mothers, aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes as well as myths surrounding breast feeding of infants by HIV positive mothers,” said Ms. Bwalya.

She added that the global theme for 2022 World Breast Feeding Week from August 1st to 7th, ‘’step up for breast feeding education and support’’ calls for more awareness on breast feeding and its associated advantages.

Ms. Bwalya also said should note that even in the midst of COVID 19 pandemic, they should observe standard COVID 19 guidelines and initiate breastfeeding in the first hour of birth; exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continued breastfeeding to two years or beyond.

“When children are 6 months, breast feeding mothers should commence feeding their babies with nutrient-dense complementary foods and water and continue breast feeding the child up to 2 year or more.” She added.

Ms. Bwalya guides that Complementary foods should provide sufficient energy, protein and micronutrients to meet the child’s energy and nutrient gaps, so that together with breast milk, they meet the baby’s nutritional needs.

She encouraged HIV positive mothers to breast feed their babies for as long as they follow guidelines from the health professionals.

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