Snapshot Of Breastfeeding In South Africa

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

The World Health Organisation’s goal is to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life to at least 50% by 2025. Globally, only 38% of infants are exclusively breastfed, but what are the sentiments about breastfeeding in South Africa for new and expecting moms?

The Philips AVENT breastfeeding snapshot survey* revealed that 98.5% of respondents decided to breastfeed with 70% citing a number of reasons behind their decision including, nutritional and health benefits for the baby, convenience, health benefits for mom and strengthening the emotional bond. “The results indicate that South African mothers understand the importance of breastfeeding and the positive results it provides for both mother and child and that even with the challenges they are faced with along the way, the benefits of breastfeeding prevail,” says Lucy Jones Marketing Director, Philips Personal Health, Africa.

When asked how many times they breastfeed a day, 47% of respondents indicated between 6 and 11 times a day, while 30% indicated every two hours. Half of the respondents (50%) also indicated that a rocking chair or comfortable place to sit really helps them to relax during breastfeeding and 27.2% required privacy.

“Interestingly enough, however, despite a third of moms liking privacy when they breastfeed, 69% of participants indicated that they would breastfeed in public,” adds Jones. “Breastfeeding when you’re out and about is convenient, hygienic and the most natural and healthy way for a baby to feed and today, it’s getting easier to find somewhere a little more private to breastfeed in public. Many shopping centres, department stores, baby shops and supermarkets have special feeding rooms where mom can breastfeed.”

When asked about biggest concerns around breastfeeding, 41% of moms indicated their biggest concern was producing enough milk, followed by getting their baby to latch (20%) and when breastfeeding doesn’t go according to plan, most moms cited that they consult their midwife or doctor (43%) with others indicating that they consult Google (25%) or family and friends (25%).

It’s also great to see partners getting involved in feeding time with 70% of respondents indicating that dad/partners are involved during these important bonding moments,” says Jones. “This also goes a long way to spreading the load when moms return to work and start to express. In fact, the survey pointed to 83% of respondents who breastfeed when they can and express for the rest when they go back to work..

Sixty-six per cent prefer an electric breast pump compared to 34% who prefer go the manual breast pump route when expressing. Nearly half (47%) of the survey participants refrigerate breast milk just for day with 35% freezing up to six months. And when asked about how bottles get warmed up, 72% indicated that they place milk containers in warm water, while 20% use a bottle warmer.

There are so many breastfeeding and related products available out there so it’s important for moms to know what they will need and what’s ‘nice-to-have’.

Be product savvy: 

  1. Do research.

  2. Look for products that take the environment into consideration, products that that are BPA free and that are designed with mom and baby’s comfort in mind.

  3. Look for a brand that is globally recognised and innovative with clinically proven solutions and the broadest range of support – right from the start, through every stage and each transition. Products that also work effectively together to promote baby’s wellbeing as well as ones with interchangeable design features mean they can be adapted to meet baby’s developing needs.

Breastfeeding is an amazing, and most natural, way for mother and baby to build a strong bond and it’s encouraging to see that despite many challenges South African moms are faced with (54% indicated its tough experience, but worth pushing though and 44% said it is/was amazing), there is certainly still a strong affiliation towards breastfeeding as the primary form of feeding, among South African women, concludes Jones.

*Philips Avent conducted this survey with parenting blogs, where over 1 200 respondents (predominantly new and expecting mothers) participated in the breastfeeding snapshot survey.

Source: Orange Ink on behalf of Philips AVENT. Image: Pixabay

#breastfeeding #PhilipsAVENT #survey

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