The Tema General Hospital on Thursday marked this year’s breastfeeding week celebration with a float through some principal streets of Tema amidst singing and engaging motorists with messages.
The float started from the premises of the hospital through the main streets of communities ‘11, 10, 6, 4, 8, 9’ and back to the hospital educated and interacted with onlookers and passengers in vehicles.
This year’s celebration is on the theme: “Start Right: Feed Right, From Birth up to two Years and Beyond”.
Ms Joyce Aware, Senior Nutrition Office at the Tema General Hospital, said the float was to create community awareness on the importance of breastfeeding, most especially the need for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months in a child’s life.
Touching on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, she said, initiating breastfeeding immediately after birth, will enable the child to grow healthier as breastmilk naturally contained all the nutrients that the child needed.
Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, she noted provided the child with the right antibodies for adequate protection from infections.
Ms Asare disclosed that there were a lot of malnutrition cases in Tema among children under six months because lactating mothers do not practice exclusive breastfeeding.
She expressed worry at the rate at which lactating mothers stop practicing exclusive breastfeeding after three months’ maternity leave and rather fed their children with other forms of feeding.
She said, “from the history we’ve gathered so far, most of the mothers are not practicing exclusive breastfeeding and this is as a result of them resuming work early and they tend to feed them with other things making them not to grow well.
“There’s a way of continuous breastfeeding up to the first six months so they should contact health workers for assistance to practice the exclusive breastfeeding and if possible continue up to two years,” she added.
The nutrition officer revealed that COVID-19 had affected the rate at which lactating mothers visited weighing centers as breastfeeding talks are routinely done to educate them on what is expected.
Ms Asare urged lactating mothers of children less than six months to continue breastfeeding as breastmilk was needed to boost their immunity.