02 Aug Five reasons why breastfeeding is important
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival.” In support of this sentiment, Nestlé is commemorating World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) by setting up a Breastfeeding Station at Baragwanath Taxi Rank for the month of August. In line with WHO’s recommendations, Nestlé Breastfeeding Station will form part of Nestle’s pledge to support breastfeeding as the best source of nourishment for infants and young children.
WBW is an annual event coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), a global network of individuals and organisations concerned with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide to improve infant health.
“The 2018 WBW theme of ‘Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life’, outlines the need to raise awareness and education around the benefits of breastfeeding for both the child and the mother. There are still certain stigma’s in society that surround open discussion of breastfeeding and even more so about breastfeeding in public. The pressure on new mothers to balance the demands of parenting and work are substantial and Nestlé encourages the collective support of mothers who choose to breastfeed and encourages them to do so for the first 1000 days of the child’s life. At Nestlé all sites that have over 50 mothers has a dedicated Breastmilk express room and the offices in Bryanston have a crèche on site.” says Anne Marie De Beer, Medical and Scientific Affairs Manager at Nestlé South Africa.
Five facts about breastfeeding from the WHO
- To achieve optimal growth, development and health, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months (1000 days) of life.
- Breast milk contains antibodies that helps to protect children against common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, which are the two primary causes of child mortality worldwide.
- Breast feeding is also beneficial for mothers. It protects against pregnancy and functions as a birth control method that is 98% effective for the first six months after giving birth. In addition, it reduces the risks of breast and ovarian cancer, type II diabetes and postpartum depression.
- Breastfeeding provides long-term benefits. Adolescents and adults who were breastfed as babies perform better in intelligence tests and they are also less likely to develop type II diabetes or to be overweight or obese.
- Many mothers stop breastfeeding when they return to work as they find continuing an insurmountable challenge. Mothers should be encouraged to continue breastfeeding while working and employers should enable conditions that facilitate this. These include paid maternity leave, part-time work arrangements, on-site crèches, facilities for expressing and storing breast milk and breastfeeding breaks.
Nestlé’s Start Strong Stay Strong programme is dedicated to the life-long impact of the first 1,000 days of life and the importance of breastfeeding for this period.
De Beer notes that raising awareness about the value of breastfeeding should be an ongoing endeavour and not limited to the WBW period. “As a business firmly rooted in its support of Maternal Nutrition and promoting breastfeeding, we actively support mothers by providing information about the benefits of breastfeeding that will assist them to best care for the health of their child,” says De Beer.
“Our endorsement of this year’s WBW is clear – there’s no better way to express love than through breastfeeding. For this reason we are encouraging mothers to breastfeed their children for the first 1000 days,” concludes De Beer.
Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. It is present in 189 countries around the world, and its 328,000 employees are committed to Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. Nestlé offers a wide portfolio of products and services for people and their pets throughout their lives. Its more than 2000 brands range from global icons like Nescafé or Nespresso to local favourites like Ricoffy. Company performance is driven by its Nutrition, Health and Wellness strategy. Nestlé is based in the Swiss town of Vevey where it was founded more than 150 years ago.