Supporting Mothers to Breastfeed

Speeches Shim

Thursday, August 5, 2021
Dee breastfeeding her baby
EGPAF Lesotho

“I always imagined that motherhood would never be complete without breastfeeding. It brings me closer to my baby and creates the mother-and-baby bonding,” explained Dee.

During this important World Breastfeeding week 2021, under the theme “Protecting Breastfeeding, a Shared Responsibility,” we shine the spotlight on Matsepo ‘Dee’ Mphafi-Tanka, a young energetic Mom who has been supporting many young people living with HIV in Lesotho. 

Dee learned that she was HIV-positive at the age of 19 which made her wonder if she would ever get that chance to someday achieve one of her dreams—to be the mother of a healthy baby. Through education and fellowship with other young people living with HIV, Dee overcame fear and stigma and believed that everything is possible. 

“HIV could not stop my dream—it can be managed like any other medical condition,” says Dee. “I always wanted to be a mother, but I knew I’d have to stay healthy and adhere to my treatment and ensure my viral load is undetectable to not transmit the virus to my loved ones, especially my unborn baby.”

“Because the goal is to achieve an AIDS-free generation,” says Dee.

Today she is married and last year, Dee welcomed a healthy daughter. With an undetectable viral load, Dee was able to exclusively breastfeed her child, giving her baby the nutrients and antibodies needed to thrive.

At six weeks the baby tested negative for HIV through the early infant diagnosis program. In June, she again tested negative at nine months old.

Benefits of breastfeeding include all the all needed nutrients for a  baby, clean, it is free, and is always warm and ready for the baby at any time

Family members and the community at large are also encouraged to support the mother during breastfeeding. Mother-Child Health clinics in Lesotho also assist pregnant and breastfeeding mothers by encouraging them to bring along their partners or mothers-in-law to attend the education session that empowers with information and skills to support mothers during exclusive breastfeeding.

Read more here about the support services of young people living with HIV.

*Story provided by USAID PEPFAR partner, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) in Lesotho


Last updated: April 25, 2022

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