Doctor concerned about fewer mums in Sarikei practising ‘exclusive breastfeeding’


Dr Fong cuts the ribbon to mark the launch of Sarikei Division’s World Breastfeeding Week 2022.

SARIKEI (Aug 13): There is a decline in the percentage of mothers in Sarikei practising what is called ‘exclusive breastfeeding’, which is feeding infants with only breast milk in the first six months after their birth.

Sarikei Division Health officer Dr Emmanuel Joseph Fong said this year to date, only 39 per cent of mothers here had been observed practising exclusive breastfeeding, versus 50 per cent registered last year, and 57.6 per cent recorded in 2020.

According to him, his department hopes to achieve a target of 70 per cent.

“The World Breastfeeding Week is a yearly event celebrated in the first week of August.

“Although there’s a different theme every year, the celebration is aimed at creating awareness of the breastfeeding issues,” he said at the launch of the division-level World Breastfeeding Week here yesterday.

Dr Fong pointed out breast milk as ‘the best gift to newborn babies’, but he also understood that breastfeeding was never easy and thus, he believed that there must be a system that could support the mothers to breastfeed their babies successfully.

He said apart from the hospital and clinic staff, husbands, parents, parents in laws, colleagues and employers all played key roles in supporting breastfeeding mothers.

“There is a breastfeeding support group to help mothers, where its members are trained on many aspects about breastfeeding. They are dedicated and committed individuals.

“But more importantly, breastfeeding is not just a responsibility of a mother – it requires full attention from the husbands and other family members too to ensure success in breastfeeding,” he added.