Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
DR PAULINE Samuda, nutritionist, has called for intense research and intervention to come on stream as myths continue to be a barrier in preventing mothers from breastfeeding their children.
Findings of a pilot project that was conducted in St Catherine and Clarendon revealed that 43.9 per cent of mothers are still firm believers of myths which have negative effects on children's health.
"The breastfeeding myths that are ingrained in the country are a big hindrance, and it requires much more than explanations and sensitisation, because they go back home where the grandparents and the community are big believers of these myths," Saumda said.
She added: "I would suggest that we do some research in finding out how these myths come about and how we can dispel them, and have some behavioural psychologist coming on board as well to understand the behaviours of these persons, because it's not just a health issue."
The nutritionist said some mothers believe that breastfeeding is not fashionable. "It is very important, and we need to make every effort in ensuring that all parents understand that."
She said although the evaluation was only conducted in two parishes, it is a national problem.
In the meantime, Samuda urged parents not to give babies any other food than breast milk before the first six months.
"A lot of parents make it a habit to give their children heavy food items as early as two months, some give them bush tea, but what this does is take the place of a feed and their is no nutrient in the bush tea, which is why children develop allergies, among other eating disorders, because it is too early for children to be digesting these foods," she said.
"Our children come first and whatever is best for them, we have to make the effort," declared Samuda.