Onyaanya-Despite the benefits of breastfeeding, mothers at Onyaanya in the Oshikoto Region are not breastfeeding their children for longer than six months.
In an interview with New Era, Lea Nampala, a registered nurse at the Onyaanya Health Centre, said: “What we mostly see is that mothers with children six months and younger breastfeed exclusively.”
When the child is six months, when the mother starts introducing the child to complementary food, that is when they start breastfeeding their children less, said Nampala.
She maintained that mothers in rural areas breastfeed much longer and exclusively compared to mothers in urban areas.
Citing the reasons mothers in the area do not breastfeed as long as they ought to, Nampala said: “They go to work, some are school-going children while others are busy at cuca shops.”
She added that the primary healthcare division of the clinic is in support of breastfeeding.
“We work together with the mothers by giving them health education on different topics, including breastfeeding,” she said.
Reiterating the benefits of breastfeeding, Nampala said the available nutrients from the mother protects the baby from diseases such as diarrhoea.
“Hygiene is important when breastfeeding. Breastfeeding eliminates the problems of not washing utensils used to prepare the baby’s formula milk properly,” explained Nampala.
Nampala spoke in light of breastfeeding week, which was observed globally from August 1 to August 7.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. Globally, only 40 percent of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed.
WHO actively promotes breastfeeding as the best source of nourishment for infants and young children.
“I would like to encourage our mothers to take breastfeeding seriously by breastfeeding their children at least up to two years,” said Nampala.
This can be done by establishing breastfeeding corners at schools and workplaces.