Employers have been directed to comply with Health Act that requires them to establish decent places for breastfeeding staff.
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the measure was necessary to promote exclusive breastfeeding for up to six months, which, she said, had been proved to reduce child ailments, including stunted growth and deaths.
“It is not acceptable that 39 per cent of our children are not exclusively breastfed. We hope that by 2025 we will have bridged that gap and had 80 per cent of the children exclusively breastfed,” she said.
The CS spoke when she launched Breastfeeding Week at Pumwani Hospital, yesterday.
The function was attended by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and UNICEF Kenya representative Werner Shultink.
Sonko said the county hoped to establish the first milk bank at Pumwani Hospital to help women who could not breastfeed for reasons such as a baby being at risk of getting infections from a mother or when a child is hospitalised at birth due to very low birth weight.
Ms Kariuki thanked Sonko for leading by example by setting up a lactation centre at City Hall and promised to do the same at the Ministry of Health.
The annual Breastfeeding Week celebrated globally began on August 1, and will end on August 7.
Kariuki promised to invest in quality equipment to reduce maternal mortality rate.
She commended community health volunteers for educating and influencing mothers, and promised to allocate them a stipend.
The CS launched five guideline books to help educate women on the importance and benefits of breastfeeding.
After six months, new foods can be introduced, but the mother should only stop breastfeeding when the baby is two years old, she said.