Kitui lactating mothers have been urged to adhere to COVID-19 protocols to prevent children from contracting the deadly virus whenever they are breastfeeding.
Speaking to KNA on Friday during a health talk session for breastfeeding moms at the Kitui County Referral Hospital, Nutrition Unit Head Deborah Muthusi asked lactating mothers to constantly wear face masks and wash hands before breastfeeding their babies.
As the world marks the global breastfeeding week, Muthusi said that in case of COVID-19 infection, a mother is supposed to isolate and handle the baby when breastfeeding only while observing the health protocols until recovery.
“Upon recovery, the mother should not lower her guard. She should ensure that her face mask is worn and hands are washed with adequate flowing water and soap to prevent infecting the baby,” said the nutritionist.
Muthusi said that the world is still grappling with the deadly coronavirus whose variants are mutating at an alarming rate.
She called on lactating mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding for their babies for the first six months after birth and to continue breastfeeding up to at least two years and beyond in order to give their children the best possible start in life.
Muthusi revealed that a paltry 30 per cent of children that visit the hospital for clinic every month are exclusively breastfed.
“Mothers, who visit hospital, are given education on the importance and benefits of exclusive breastfeeding during the counseling sessions,” she said.
“We counsel over 100 breastfeeding mothers daily at the facility before offering health services. We therefore get feedback from them and if there are individuals that are having difficulties with breastfeeding we advise them on what to do,” explained Muthusi.
She pointed out that one of the challenges presented by breastfeeding mothers is inadequate milk production.
Debunking the myth, Muthusi said that every mother always produces adequate milk for their child and that the only difference in the milk production amounts depends on how the mother feeds.
She advised breastfeeding mothers to take at least five meals a day consisting of all the food groups (carbohydrates, protein, vitamins) and as many fluids as possible.
“To increase the amount of milk production, I would advise lactating mothers to take at least five meals a day and fluids both hot and cold excluding those that contain caffeine,” she counseled.
By Yobesh Onwong’a and Diana Syong’ombe