In August 2011, the South African government took a decision to actively promote breastfeeding and phase out the distribution of free infant formula as part of prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission services.
Historically, the country had seen low levels of breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding.
These guidelines, which replace those issued by the government in 2007, cover six main topics including:
- Early initiation of breastfeeding in health facilities;
- Continued breastfeeding for at least two years;
- Infant feeding for mothers living with HIV;
- Use of commercial formula;
- The introduction of complimentary foods from six months; and
- Feeding infants and young children in difficult circumstances.