Moms around South Africa are celebrating the arrivals of their most special Christmas gift, a bouncy little baby. Some provinces had a large number of little boys entering the world on Christmas Day, while in others little girls beat the boys.

The stork was out and about at George in the Southern Cape. A baby girl arrived shortly after midnight, followed by six little boys.

Hospital staff were in high spirits.

Head sister of the maternity ward, Alida Portland, says the Christmas Day babies should have extra special birthdays and a double celebration going forward.

“These babies who are born today, obviously are very, very special. They will be getting two presents from 2019 onwards; a Christmas present and a birthday present. So, mummies make sure you give your babies two presents every year.”

Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele and KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr. Sibongiseni Dlomo have welcomed Christmas babies in the province. Some babies born at the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi south of Durban have been given their birth certificates.

This is after their mothers had brought the necessary documents to register their births. It is a joyous occasion at the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi, south of Durban, as parents celebrate the arrival of their Christmas babies.

New parent Asanda Dlamini says Christmas Day will forever be a memorable one.

“Labour pains were extremely painful. However, I am now happy, holding my baby boy on this special day of Christmas.”

Another parent, Xolisile Mkhize, says; “ I can now say I have safely enjoyed festive season with my baby. She is a huge blessing from God. So, next year I will enjoy Christmas Day and also have a birthday cake for my baby. To other mothers, I wish they can take care of their children properly. Love your child.”

Cwele has urged new parents to ensure that their children are properly registered.

“We are very happy that more and more mothers when they come to hospital they bring their documents so that we can register their children while they are still in hospital. We are working very closely with the City of Durban and Department of Health in the province of KwaZulu-Natal to make sure that all children who are born in our facilities are registered within the first 30 days. That is why we have an office here in Prince Mshiyeni Hospital where we have our officials working with officials of the city and the province to encourage the mothers to register their births.”

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Dr. Sibongiseni Dlomo, says teenage pregnancy contributes to maternal deaths.

“We have had twins in Eshowe Hospital. We have recorded, up to now, three teenage pregnancies, three teenage mothers … one of them we have just seen here in Prince Mshiyeni – a 17-year-old. The very young one is 16 years old in eMpangeni. It actually gives you an understanding that she fell pregnant when she was 15 years. Those are issues that are worrying us. When you look at the significant number of maternal deaths they come from teenagers because some of them fear to come to the hospitals early, they hide the pregnancy until it is too late. We never do anti-natals.”

Government is planning for all its hospitals to have Home Affairs offices to make it easy for new parents to register their babies.

In Mpumalanga, 33 babies were born just after midnight.

Health MEC Sasekani Manzini has visited the new born babies and their mothers at the Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mbombela.

Manzini has handed over gifts and wished everyone in the maternity ward a Merry Christmas.

“We have 33 Christmas babies so far in the province; 18 of them are boys and 15 are girls. We would like to appreciate the mothers and also wish them a happy Christmas. The first baby to be born on Christmas Day in Mpumalanga was at Tintswalo Hospital.”

Mothers of the Christmas babies are grateful.

Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa paid a surprise visit to mothers at the Sebokeng Hospital on Christmas.

In the capital in Pretoria, authorities said they expected more than 135 babies to be born.

Christmas babies in Seshego received their birth certificates.

From 2019, parents will no longer have to queue at Home Affairs to acquire these.

“There is no baby that must be born today (Tuesday) on Christmas and go home without their ‘drivers licenses’. So, today (Tuesday) we made sure that all the babies that were delivered here we register them. We are doing it throughout the province. I think this campaign will help us and as Department of Health. We will be the biggest beneficiary because no one will come to us and say I was delivered at this hospital whenever,” says Limpopo MEC for Health  Dr Phophi Ramathuba.

The Eastern Cape has received at least 47 Christmas babies, including 27 of the babies are girls. Health department spokesperson, Lwandile Sicwetsha says the statistics are gathered from various government hospitals.

“We congratulate all the new mothers and we encourage them to make sure that when the time is right all the babies get proper immunisation at proper intervals.”

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