Breastfeeding is a real pleasure for me

breastfeeding in North Kivu

Baby Yedidia and his mother (UNICEF DRC Kayeye)

TESTIMONY – Baby Yedidia is six and a half months old yet it is only from today that he will have, for the first time, any food other than mother’s milk.

He weighed 3.5 kg at birth, is in good health and already weighs 10.5kg. His mother, Agnès, also in good health, is proud to have exclusively breastfed for the first six months. Breastfeeding is the best thing she has ever done. Here is her account.

Expressing maternal love through breastfeeding

“My reason for exclusively breastfeeding my baby during the first six months was to ensure he received a healthy and natural diet. My baby is special and I wanted to give him the best food possible for his development. Also, I thought that the best way to express my love was to breastfeed him. Through giving birth, a mother gives life but through breastfeeding she gives affection. The more time I spend with my baby so the bond between us gets stronger, a bond that nothing will be able to spoil. It is since the birth of my baby that I learnt to eat porridge to vary my diet. I absolutely wanted to have enough milk for my baby. I’ve heard that breastfeeding makes the mother gain weight, and I didn’t like that at all. However, my baby’s health is more important than my size!”

A non-breastfed baby can be in poor health

“I brought up a child who didn’t have the opportunity to be breastfed. His mother abandoned him at the maternity hospital and I took him in. He was ill all the time until he was six years old. He didn’t grow as you would expect or progress very well at school. Baby Yedidia is different. I have the impression that he is growing faster than his age. Everyone sees it and congratulates me. I am happy to see him growing like this and I thank God for this marvel.”

Well supported during the first six months

“My husband encourages me to opt for breastfeeding above all else and supports me. He does all he can to see that I eat well. It took me ten years to have my baby and during that time I learned a lot from other mothers. I am fortunate to be surrounded by good people who know the importance of breastfeeding and who encourage me. However, as it took me a long time to have my first baby certain people thought I should avoid breastfeeding to promote a second pregnancy.”

Situation of breastfeeding in North Kivu and in DRC

According to the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) carried out in the DRC in 2013-2014, slightly less than one in two children (48%) is exclusively breastfed for up to six months, 52% of new-borns are put to the breast within one hour of delivery and 66% of children continue breastfeeding up to the age of two.

Translated from French by Daphne Wood

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Cynthia Kanyere

Cynthia Kanyere est chargée de communication à l’UNICEF pour la Zone Est RDC. Sociologue de formation, elle travaille depuis 2005 dans le domaine du journalisme et de la communication. Elle est fascinée par les enfants, quelle que soit leur classe sociale ou leur race. Son credo : « Agis pour chaque enfant de la même façon que tu agis pour ton propre enfant ».

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