The City of Cape Town has called on companies to set up facilities for breastfeeding women to express milk in the workplace and breastfeed their babies. Authorities are quite serious about the issue in fact, and have started a breastfeeding restoration plan.

Just last year it recruited infant feeding counsellors through the Expanded Public Works Programme to clinics, advocating why it’s better to breastfeed over the use of formula.

Breastfeeding during the first six months of a child’s life is “critical” and should “continue on in conjunction with solid foods” up until the child is two years old, according to the city.

The mayoral committee member for social services, JP Smith, said that the widespread availability of formula has made natural feeding less attractive to mothers.

“Celebrating Breastfeeding Week is therefore crucial in our drive to explain to mothers why breastfeeding is best, as well as ensure that they are able to do it in relative comfort at home or in the workplace. Changing societal attitudes is necessary to create an enabling environment for breastfeeding mothers,” he said.

The City of Cape Town’s health department has announced that is would undertake a survey to assess mothers’ views and attitudes towards exclusive breastfeeding. A project aimed at clinics in the city found that 40% of mothers were exclusively breastfeeding.

According to a letter issued by both the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organisation, breastfeeding is critical for the achievement of several sustainable development goals.

“It improves nutrition, prevents child mortality and decreases the risk of noncommunicable diseases, and supports cognitive development and education. Breastfeeding is also an enabler to ending poverty, promoting economic growth and reducing inequalities,” the letter reads.

World Breastfeeding Week runs from August 1st to 7th, 2017.

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