Breastfeeding is one of the most important things there is but unfortunately, it is also one of the many important things that are most times taken for granted.
Breastfeeding comes with some stigma with some people believing that is is something that mothers should only do in private. This has led to most parents opting to use artificial substitutes especially when outside.
Some first-time mothers also often have the fear that breastfeeding will affect their perfectly shaped bodies and for that reason, they turn to infant formula, the most common alternative to breast milk.
The Kiambu County Government has partnered with Nutrition International to promote breastfeeding as a healthier and more environmentally friendly option for infants.
They have come together to encourage and enlighten mothers on the many benefits of breastfeeding as opposed to other artificial substitutes.
First of all, breast milk is natural which mean sit is 100% better for the environment. Also, the milk is better for the baby in comparison to other types.
“Breastmilk is a natural, renewable food that is environmentally safe, produced and delivered to the consumer without pollution, unnecessary packaging or waste,” he said.
iambu County plans to establish breastfeeding spaces in facilities and social settings like worship centers, marketplaces, public gathering places/centres and bus/matatu terminus in a bid to support breastfeeding for a healthier nation.
This was revealed at Makongeni Dispensary on Tuesday by Kiambu Health CEC Health Dr. Joseph Murega who was the chief guest at a function organised by the Kiambu Health Department to mark the World Breastfeeding Month
He said that Kiambu had already established a lactation station at Gatundu Level 5 Hospital.
Health Chief Officer Dr Patrick Nyaga noted that the link between breastfeeding and the environment and anchored breastfeeding as a climate-smart decision. He stressed the need to engage individuals on improving the health of the planet through breastfeeding.
Nutrition International, who facilitated the event, committed themselves to supporting the county on similar initiatives so as to promote breastfeeding over processed milks.
The Health Department used the platform to educate mothers on the importance of initiating breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for first six months of life, continued breastfeeding up to two years and beyond. They also encourage fathers to accompany the mothers to the clinics.
Present at the occasion included the County Nutritionist Rachael Wanjugu ,Kiambu County Nutrition International Coordinator Hannah Mburu and health workers from Makongeni Dispensary.
“All the processes in this pathway of production of the breast milk substitutes make their manufacturing a major environmental concern and a leading contributor to global warming. Again using these infant formulas make families economically constrained,” he said.
The county wants mothers to understand the importance of breastfeeding and to be comfortable while they do so. That’s why they are putting up lactation corners in public facilities across the county
“We are keen on promoting breastfeeding in this region because it seems that most mothers especially young mothers are opting to feed their infants with infant formula. We have to make them understand that breast milk protects stunting in children and boosts their immunity thereby protect them from contracting diseases. Again they need to know that breastfeeding reduces risks of getting breast cancer,” she said.
“We will be putting up lactation corners in public facilities across the county. Plans are underway and we are sourcing funds for the same,” Dr Murega said.
“Some first-time mothers fear ‘losing their shape’ if they breastfeed and they are the ones using breast milk formulas most. We are encouraging them to ignore the myths of losing shape and breastfeed their babies. In fact, they will get better ‘shapes’ if they breastfeed,” Dr Murega said