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Mkhize urges mothers of newborn babies to breastfeed

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that research had shown that the coronavirus was not found in breast milk and therefore could not be transmitted through breastfeeding.

A woman breastfeeding her child. Picture: Pixabay.com.

DURBAN - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has called on mothers with newborn babies to prioritise breastfeeding in the wake of COVID-19, saying that it remained a safe and cost-effective way to bring up children.

Minister Mkhize addressed a virtual gathering on Tuesday as the world marked World Breastfeeding Week.

The minister said that research had shown that the coronavirus was not found in breast milk and therefore could not be transmitted through breastfeeding.

Minister Mkhize said that a baby’s immune system was not fully developed and needed the immune protection found in breast milk.

"This life-saving protection is more important than ever right now during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Mkhize said that breastfeeding was encouraged because it could protect babies from illnesses, including diabetes and diarrhoea, and came with life-long benefits.

"The chances of getting breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer are reduced. In addition, breastfeeding facilitates bonding between baby and mom by triggering the release of large amounts of oxytocin."

Mkhize also raised concerns, saying that he had noticed that children were missing their immunisations and growth monitoring at health facilities.

He called on parents to discard fears of contracting the virus at facilities, saying that COVID-19 patients were kept separate from other patients.

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