Bill to force breastfeeding

2012-09-21 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Women may soon find themselves not being able to decide for themselves whether or not to breastfeed their babies.

This is because the government plans to restrict “aggressive marketing” of formula milk for infants.

The Health Department outlined its idea to the portfolio committee in Parliament this week.

Gilbert Thsitaudzi, acting director for nutrition, said draft regulations for the Foodstuffs, Cosmetic Products and Disinfectants Control Bill would forbid health workers from marketing “unnecessary” milk formulas.

“The goal of the regulations is to help promote the correct feeding of babies and toddlers by establishing standards for baby feeding.

“The regulations must also ensure exclusive breastfeeding for six months after birth,” he said.

The draft regulations forbid hospitals and clinics from including formula in goody packs given to new mothers.

They also set standards for baby bottles and teats, and for the advertising of these items.

“We want to restrict or ban everything that interferes with breastfeeding,” the MPs were told.

“Companies use every conceivable method to undermine breastfeeding as the norm. Bottle feeding is becoming the norm,” said Thsitaudzi.

Not all MPs agreed with the proposed regulations.

ANC MP Morwesi Segale-Deswai, said it seems mothers would be punished for the aggressive marketing of formula. “But whose fault is it? It seems as if those who should be aggressively marketing breastfeeding are not doing their jobs and have now come up with these regulations.”

She asked whether women had been consulted. “It is every woman’s right to choose between breastfeeding and bottlefeeding. We can’t sit here and talk about women’s breast milk without including them in the discussion,” she said.

Committee chair Monwabisi Goqwana asked, in reference to teenage mothers who return to school after giving birth: “Will children now be asked to leave class to go and feed their babies?”

The DA’s Patricia Kopane asked whether the legality of the regulations has been established.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.