Covid-19 shouldn’t discourage breastfeeding-UNICEF

As the country is in the middle of commemorating breastfeeding week, UNICEF Malawi has urged mothers to continue breastfeeding their children and downplay myths surrounding Covid-19 pandemic.

A nutrition specialist at UNICEF Malawi, Dr. Owen Nkhoma, made the remarks when emphasizing the importance of breastfeeding children in relation to their good health both mentally and physically.

Dr Nkhoma said breast milk is very important during the first two years of a new born child.

He said: “Women must continuously breastfeed their children from birth to two years even beyond because among others breast milk provides ideal nutrition, contains important anti-bodies and promotes babies healthy just to mention but a few.”

He further urged mothers not to provide any food or water to a child within six months from birth rather than breast milk only.

In a related development, a Joint statement by UNICEF and World Health Organisation (WHO) has described as unfounded fears that breastfeeding can transmit COVID-19.

The statement has also urged nations to prioritise breastfeeding-friendly environments for mothers and babies by among other, ensuring health care workers have the resources and information they need to effectively support mothers to breastfeed.

It has further called for employers to provider longer maternity leave to allow women enough time and space to breastfeed.

According to UNICEF Malawi, in urban areas, only 63 % of babies start breastfeeding within one hour of birth compared to 78% in rural areas.

Theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week, is ‘Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility’.

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