Breast is Best and dedicated public spaces would help make breastfeeding easier

Prof Mariana Kruger, head of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences says breastfeeding is vital for a baby's health, especially in the first year of growth. In fact, breast milk ensure a child grows up to be 20% more successful in their work when they are adults. Breast milk plays a huge role in brain development of babies.

Will dedicated public spaces help mothers to breastfeed their babies more easily?

The infrastructure and circumstances make it very difficult for women if there are no dedicated spaces in public places.

Prof Mariana Kruger, Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Stellenbosch

But, she says, there are other issues involved.

It is a much more complex issue than just acceptance in public spaces. There was a time at the height of the HIV Aids epidemic when it was believed that breast milk increased the chances of mother to child transmission of HIV

Prof Mariana Kruger, Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Stellenbosch

Kruger says it is important to get the message out there that times have changed and breastfeeding needs to become a priority again. Government policy has changed and now supports breastfeeding.

Unfortunately this belief has resulted in the poorest of the poor spending what little money they have on milk supplements, when breast milk is far better - and free!

Its up to both mothers and health care workers to share the information that breastfeeding in the first year of a child's life is still best for the baby's survival.

Prof Mariana Kruger, Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Stellenbosch

We must find a way of allowing the space on public transport and in public space to breastfeed.

Prof Mariana Kruger, Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Stellenbosch

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