No baby formula ban, says Health Minister
Banning baby formula is not the plan, so let’s offer better support for all new moms.
By Adele Hamilton
When the Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi was reported to have come out in support of banning infant formula, many people were surprised, to say the least.
Article originally in Parent24
While we are 100% in favour of breastfeeding where possible, there are far too many instances where women are unable to breastfeed to even entertain this as a serious suggestion.
Fidel Hadebe, the ministerial spokesperson, told Parent24 that the Minister intended to highlight the importance of breastfeeding.
‘No, Minister has not called for any swift banning of infant formula,’ says Hadebe. ‘The point that Minister was making on this matter is that breast milk is still the best when it comes to the health of our infants and their survival chances.
‘The Minister's view is that it is time we placed more emphasis on breastfeeding. He is, however aware, and in fact, conscious of the practicalities when it comes to breastfeeding. There are instances where mothers may not breastfeed their infants due to their HIV status as mothers.
‘Secondly, as a developing and imbalanced society (socio-economically) there are mothers who may not always have the privilege of breastfeeding - because they are working in farms for instance and as such are not adequately catered for in terms of the Labour Relations Act especially around the aspect of leave and maternity leave. There is also the reality of orphaned or abandoned children who need
support in terms of their growth.
‘The point however has to be made that as far as possible mothers should make breast milk the first choice for their infants.’
Improving the education, sympathy and support offered to new moms, whether or not they are breastfeeding, would be a great start.
What would facilitate more women breastfeeding? What role should baby formula play?