SEROWE: Young mothers have been accused of reluctance to breastfeed due to cosmetic reasons even though breastfeeding plays an important role in saving young lives.
According to research, if every child was breastfed within an hour of birth, given only breast milk for their first six months of life and breastfed up to the age of two years, 800,000 lives would be saved annually.
One medical practitioner officiating at the just ended New Directions in Global Health seminar held at the Serowe Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) for media practitioners and other stakeholders, Dr Janet Mwambona from the Center for Diseases Control (CDC) Botswana, said that it has become a trend that young mothers prefer beauty over their children’s lives.
She said they are reluctant to breastfeed as they think breastfeeding causes sagging breasts, which is a natural concern. However, sagging breasts is quite a natural process that will happen to all women at some stage in their lives. The breast can start dropping at any stage of life mainly because there are no muscles in the breast and it consist only of connective tissue and ligaments.
“Women always blame their male counterparts for such choice saying that they end up leaving them whenever their breasts are off shape and no longer appeal to their likings which is very sad,” she noted.
She added: “In Botswana, less than 25% of mothers breastfeed from 0-4 months while about 37%t continue to breastfeed until 12-15 months and this goes to show that reluctance to breastfeed remains a problem in this country.”
She explained that most of the young mothers are of school going age, who at times do not know the importance of breastfeeding and would rather satisfy the needs of their sexual partners than the wellbeing of their children.
She further said malnutrition is responsible for 30% of deaths among children under five years globally, while 60% of deaths are due to poor feeding practices, which occur within the first years of life.
Mwambona called for male partners to fully support their female partners by encouraging them to breastfeed instead of making them feel less attractive.