Breastfeeding: mothers and health practitioners in the context of private medical care in Gauteng.

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

Breastfeeding is preferred for all infants, and exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months after birth. The importance and benefits of breastfeeding to both mother and infant are well known and documented. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life offers important benefits on the infant and the mother: superior nutritional content, enhanced immunological status of the newborn, strengthening of the mother-infant relationship, delayed ovulation and economic savings (Hillenbrand & Larsen 2002:e59). It protects infants against common childhood diseases like gastrointestinal infections,