Mothers in DR Congo believe that breastfeeding makes woman beautiful and baby smarter
MAGNA supports nutrition of babies and young children within the context of the project for the prevention of chronic malnutrition in the communities. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the project runs in 30 health districts, focusing on children from birth to five years and pregnant and lactating women. Emphasis is given mainly on breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding.
Patricia works as MAGNA nutrition expert for children in communities. Patricia has been focusing on promotion of breastfeeding, education of mothers and their entire families in DR Congo for four years. “It’s the safest, healthiest and most hygienic way to ensure child nutrition needs. Mainly in poor communities and difficult conditions with high rates of malnutrition, where breastfeeding saves children’s lives.” She has good experiences with response of the community “even when nursing mothers must resist to receive “good” advices of almost all family members. One of the most typical is the provision of water and other food even before the age of four months. “
In terms of support of the breastfeeding in communities MAGNA focuses on breastfeeding within one hour after the birth, exclusive breastfeeding up to six months and on continuation of breastfeeding up to 2 years of a child or beyond. “Also state supports breastfeeding in DR Congo. An employed woman, who is breastfeeding, is entitled to reduced working hours by one hour every day since the return to work until the child reaches six months of age,” comments Andrea Lafosse Stránska, MAGNA operational manager for Africa.
Women know the benefits of breastfeeding. Judith and Annie (young mothers from MAGNA program) appreciate deepening the bond between mother and child the most, as well as the ideal nutritional value, healthier and smarter kid, financial savings and last but not least – breastfeeding makes a woman beautiful.
“Even continuous work did not stop me from breastfeeding. I will feed the baby before and after work, and between that we use the breast pump. Otherwise I breastfeed anytime, anywhere even though some people in DR Congo think that breastfeeding in public is a sign of bad manners, I disagree with this view. The child should be breastfed anywhere and just when it requests to do so,” says Patricia, MAGNA nutrition expert who became a mother 6 months ago.
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