Most women in Cameroon have adhered to breastfeeding, but not every woman breastfeeds.
Health experts’ endeavors to bring such women to reason remains a far-fetched dream .
The World Breastfeeding Week launched on 1st August in Yaounde is an occasion to raise awareness on the importance of breastfeeding.
The National Health Protocol requires that nursing mums exclusively breastfeed their babies for six months .
Accordingly, nursing mums ought to continue breastfeeding alongside complementary meals till the baby turns 2 .
Jeanne is a 25 year-old mum who yielded to her doctor’s recommendation.
“My doctor repeatedly encouraged me to exclusively breastfeed my baby for six months. I succeeded to exclusively breastfeed my son. He now takes complementary meals after a long struggle. I enjoyed the exercise”.
World Breastfeeding Week: Debunking age-old myths
Health experts say women who do not want to breastfeed believe in some myths.
In a society where being a “slay queen” is worth every sacrifice, some women won’t breastfeed for fear that their breasts will sag and they’ll loose their beauty.
But breastfeeding for women of the working class is not an issue. However, they mostly breastfeed for the first three months and thereafter introduce complementary meals .
Inability to breastfeed is a natural shortcoming for others. Doctors have had to instruct some women not to breastfeed due to health-related risks .
Ignorance has equally stopped many women from getting a first hand testimony of the life-saving practice. Some of them believe that breastfeeding a baby alongside sexual relations will make the baby “sick” or “spoil” the baby’s milk.
Sadly enough, many years of sensitization hasn’t yielded the expected results.
Health experts say only 28-30% of women practice exclusive breastfeeding in Cameroon.
Patience Yunga , a Reproductive Health nurse at the Logbaba District hospital in Douala says breastfeeding, is a must for every nursing Mum.
“Breastfeeding is very important for both mum and child. Nothing should stop a woman from breastfeeding her baby. Women who work can express milk and store for their babies while they are at work. After the regular three-month leave, government gives women two hours daily to breastfeed their babies till babies are six months old”.
Health experts have repeatedly stated that all the myths preventing women from breastfeeding are unfounded.
Kathy Neba Sina