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02 May 2006

Breastfeeding pressure group

Do you feel strongly about donating breast milk to women who cannot breastfeed their children? Have your say.

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I feel that the current support systems and structures are not adequate for women who are attempting to breastfeed as well as pregnant woman who are wanting to breastfeed. I am not sure if it is an issue of training but the health care workers in the government as well as the private hospitals are clueless / non-interested when it comes to breastfeeding in the maternity wards and then at the clinics.

This is not just an issue of the “lower class” woman, it is happening with paediatricians as well, where mothers are advised to the contrary or are questioned as to why they are still breastfeeding their babies.

I am wanting to gather support for my quest in that I would like to approach the relevant minister to improve the support structures for all expectant mothers as well as breastfeeding mothers. This education must start from day one when a woman finds out that she is pregnant right up to when she is in the maternity ward and beyond!

These women must feel like should they have any questions or problems they can have the necessary support – they must not feel even more overwhelmed then they already do!

Motherhood is demanding and breastfeeding needs to be seen as a priority and it needs to be ‘easy’. Mothers must not give up breastfeeding due to frustration or any of the other emotions that they are likely to experience when they are not getting it right because they have not been properly educated.

Please take note that the relevant word is properly. Many health care workers out there give the totally inappropriate and incorrect advice to mothers ie; like scrubbing their nipples to prepare them for breastfeeding or to tell a mother that she is not producing enough milk. These sorts of things are just ludicrous.

I also think that, with the prevalence of HIV/Aids mothers as well as the rate with which babies are being abandoned, that we need to establish milk banks. Mothers who have an abundance of milk will feel wonderful if they know that they can donate their milk to such babies. I feel that milk banks can be created on the same principle as blood banks.

If ten mothers each donate their excess milk of about 50ml per day, that makes 500ml, which is well on the way to providing a better start for a baby. Even if the baby only gets three breast milk feeds and the rest formula, that baby is receiving some antibodies that are going to make for a better start.

If there are mothers, women, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, any women – and men too - out there who would like to support my ‘crusade’ and add their names and telephone numbers to the petition that I want to send to the Health Minister, then don’t delay - e-mail me on bib@702mail.co.za RIGHT NOW! We need to have a collective voice, as a lone voice – I feel – is not going to achieve anything!”

 
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