By Raymond Baguma
MOTHERS should initiate breastfeeding within one hour after delivery and exclusively feed the baby on breast milk for the first six months, the Ministry of Health has advised.
Babies, the ministry says, can suckle up to two years.
The recommendation is part of new guidelines unveiled yesterday.
The tips to mothers are contained in national policy document on infant and young child feeding launched by the minister, Dr. Stephen Mallinga, in Kampala.
The nine guidelines address feeding healthy infants, infants exposed to HIV and others born during emergency situations.
Also, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should be cared for and encouraged to consume adequate quantities of nutritious foods, the guidelines recommend.
The guidelines say health workers should establish the sero status of pregnant women and lactating mothers, adding that mothers should share their HIV status to get appropriate care for their babies.
Also, babies born to HIV -positive mothers, the guidelines add, should be breastfed for the first six months, irrespective of the infantâ€™s HIV status, unless appropriate replacement feeding is given.
Another guideline recommends HIV testing for infants at six weeks of age if they are born to HIV-positive mothers.
The guidelines also recommend providing medical and nutritional care to malnourished children and catering for children with low birth weight.
Launching the policy in Kampala yesterday, Mallinga said the guidelines would be used by policy makers in provision of maternal, child and reproductive health services in the country.
Mallinga said feeding of infants and children was crucial in determining the survival, growth, development and upholding childrenâ€™s right to health and nutrition.
There are also regulations to protect children against unethical marketing and distribution of infant foods, as well as the entitlement to a 60-day maternity leave for new mothers.
The minister said the guidelines will be implemented alongside the global strategies on infant feeding.