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‘Exclusive breastfeeding does not mean sagging breast’

By Tosin Areo   |   03 August 2017   |   4:15 am  

PHOTO: google.com

*Mamajoy, CHAI develop innovation to increase rate in Nigeria
Expectant and lactating mothers had been encouraged to start breastfeeding their child immediately they are born, and for those that have undergone caesarean section to start after they get their doctor’s approval.

Addressing the misconception that exclusive breastfeeding leads to early sagging of breast, the Managing Director, Isolo General Hospital, Dr. Godwin Akhabhoa, said: “The fear of sagging breast does not apply because it is natural that it happens whether you breastfeed or not. Young mothers need to know that what is natural is natural and cannot be changed. The breast is basically meant for breastfeeding babies and this should not be changed. God has given women for that purpose and must be used for it.”

Also, determined to promoting breastfeeding and reducing the malnutrition rate in children under-five years in Nigeria, Mamajoy and Child Health Advocacy Initiative (CHAI) have collaborated to launch an innovation.

Executive Director of CHAI, Mrs. Lola Alonge, told journalists on Tuesday that the innovation, Mamajoy Breastfeeding Suites is Nigeria’s first innovation aimed at promoting breastfeeding for nursing mothers in public places. When mothers are away from home they require a private place to breastfeed or use the breast pump in order to give their babies the required nutrients for child development. Unfortunately, doing this in public is often discouraged in the Nigerian culture, and many private areas are not available.

Alonge said Mamajoy is a leading expert in lactation spaces, integrating the biological, physical, and emotional needs of nursing mothers into the breastfeeding suites.

Meanwhile, speaking during the World Breastfeeding Week, with theme “Sustaining breastfeeding together,” Akhabhao added that breastfeeding particularly within 30 minutes of delivery and exclusive breastfeeding is the most ideal infant feeding option for every new born as colostrum; the first milk from the mother is the baby’s first immunization.

He emphasized that the most effective way for exclusive breastfeeding to be sustained is by the young mother getting full support of her husband, relatives and the society at large. “Everybody should all be committed to promoting exclusive breastfeeding that is nothing but breast milk for the first six months. This would serve as a facelift for lactating mother and therefore ensure healthy of babies across the world,” he reiterated.

Speaking on strategies adopted by Lagos state to support exclusive breastfeeding, Akhabhoa, said that the state government has given six months to breastfeeding mothers and called for private organizations to support the trend. He explained: “We have stated that in every institution as a matter of policy, there should be no public advertisement of artificial food for babies.

“The advocacy has started and we are set to encourage every young adult and aspiring parent to choose early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding for their children and to encourage every grandparents and parents in-law, including every member of the community to protect and stand up for breastfeeding.”

The Managing Director, while explaining how lactating mothers can manage work and the care of their babies, said whether lactating mother is working with private or public sector, the need to take care of their baby remains paramount, hence, it is necessary that she is empowered in assert her and her baby’s right to breastfeed.

According to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), about 84 per cent of children under-five years are malnourished (stunting 37 per cent, underweight 29 per cent, and wasting 18 per cent). While United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that in Nigeria, about five million newborns are deprived of essential nutrients and antibodies that protect them from disease and death, as they are not being exclusively breastfed. These facts buttress the need for interventions and innovations aimed at encouraging breastfeeding for newborns.

Alonge said: “We aim to transform the culture of breastfeeding, making it more optimistic, accommodating, and inviting to all mothers in Nigeria. Our modular suite offers nursing mothers a clean and beautifully designed space to breastfeed or pump, when they are away from their homes.

“The breastfeeding suites can be installed in offices, shopping malls, churches, parks, bus stations, airports, hospitals, anywhere in Nigeria. The suites feature leather chairs, an air conditioner, a table, electrical outlets for plugging in a breast pump, space for bags or a stroller, and a door that can be locked for privacy. They also make an excellent platform for brand sponsorship and advertising for private organisations.”

Research shows that an exclusively breastfed child is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child, and breastfeeding drastically reduces deaths from acute respiratory infection and diarrhoea; two major child killer diseases. Therefore, in Nigeria there is a need for us to support nursing mothers, and provide them with the opportunity to breastfeed their babies, even in public places.

Principal Nutrition Officer, Isolo General Hospital, Odugbade Funmilola, while encouraging lactating mothers to feed well, emphasized: “Your baby is what you eat. Your breast milk is sufficient for your baby, because it is all-inclusive. Even water is not needed for the first six month of exclusive breastfeeding. It is the cheapest of all, whatever you want your child to eat, eat it when you are breastfeeding them.”

She added: “Owning to the fact that the breast milk is known for its health, growth, immunity and development benefits, Nigeria joined the advocacy in 1990 for six months of exclusive breastfeeding.”

While calling on mothers to be ambassadors, “Exclusive breastfeeding helps your baby fight common diseases like diarrhea and vomiting because the breast milk contains all nutrition needed. It is lighter and easier for children to digest, builds immunity, and boosts the child’s intelligent quotient.

“The mother is not left out in benefits; it helps her mother burn some calories that were gained during pregnancy, reduces the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer by 50%, and increases the surge of love and bond between mother-child.”

Furthermore, Funmilola challenged women to be determined because when they start right the child would have long years of strong health. “Breastfeeding mothers should take more water and less of caffeinated drinks, warm tea is needed, small frequent meals, add variety, that is, balanced diets,” she advised.

Breastfeeding helps your baby fight common diseases like diarrhea and vomiting because the breast milk contains all nutrition needed. It is lighter and easier for children to digest, builds immunity, and boosts the child’s intelligent quotient.

“The mother is not left out in benefits; it helps her mother burn some calories that were gained during pregnancy, reduces the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer by 50%, and increases the surge of love and bond between mother-child.”

Furthermore, Funmilola challenged women to be determined because when they start right the child would have long years of strong health. “Breastfeeding mothers should take more water and less of caffeinated drinks, warm tea is needed, small frequent meals, add variety, that is, balanced diets,” she advised.



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