Botha-Bothe- Apr. 12 — Botha- Bothe district is today kicking off a breastfeeding test on 18 mothers living around Seboche hospital in the district.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) reports on breastfeeding, Breastfeeding is sufficient and beneficial for infant nutrition in the first six months of life. It continues to show that feeding practices play a pivotal role in determining the optimal development of infants.
In an interview with the agency today during the testing, District Health nutritionist Ms. Eunice Mazibuko said the 18 mothers have been randomly selected from the list of mothers who attend postnatal services at Seboche Hospital.
She said the test is not only happening in Botha- Bothe but also at Motebang Hospital in Hlotse, Ntšekhe Hospital in Mohale’s Hoek, Quthing Hospital, Semonkong, and Thaba-Tseka Hospitals.
Ms. Mazibuko said the reason for the testing is to assess whether breastfeeding mothers adhere to exclusive breastfeeding.
“Lesotho just like other countries promote breastfeeding and with the tests we would like to find out whether mothers are exclusively breastfeeding like they are told to do for the first six months. We are promoting and encouraging breastfeeding because it is essential for the growth of their babies.
“Most nursing mothers nowadays do not want to exclusively breastfeed and claim to have many reasons why they are not able to breastfeed. Some say they are working during the day and cannot be home to breastfeed but we give them lessons every time they attend the clinic on how they can keep breast milk for the babies clean and safe for when they are absent during the day,” Ms. Mazibuko indicated.
She further showed that the tests are going to be taken from the glands of both the nursing mother and the baby by swabs for seven days consecutively. She said mothers are going to be given some special water for the first day which will help the lab to determine whether the mother is feeding the child breast milk only.
On the one hand, a nursing mother, Mamoleboheng Mohlauli also indicated that she has been exclusively breastfeeding her baby for the past four months and has not experienced any challenges since she started breastfeeding.
“I enjoy breastfeeding a lot even though in the first three weeks the exercise was painful as my nipples used to tear but I came to the clinic and they helped me with ways to stop the tearing. When we came to the clinic during pregnancy, nurses always told us that we should breastfeed exclusively for the first six months.
“I believe the tests done today will encourage mothers to stop mixing breast milk with formula and understand that the child can still gain weight even if they feed them breast milk only. My baby’s weight and health are good from only breastfeeding and I would like to also encourage mothers to consider exclusive breastfeeding,” she said.
Lesotho Demographic Health Survey 2014 shows that the high concentration of antibodies in colostrum, the first yellowish, highly nutritious milk that is present right after delivery, protects the child from infection before the child’s immune system has matured.
It continues to say that early initiation also encourages the bond between mother and baby and helps to maintain the baby’s body temperature. Breastfeeding also helps the uterus to retract, hence reducing postpartum blood loss of the mother
The survey says poor breastfeeding and infant feeding practices have adverse consequences for the health and nutritional status of children, which in turn has consequences on the mental and physical development of the child.