From Clement Adeyi, Osogbo and Chinenye Anuforo
The Federal Government and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) have charged the media to step-up public enlightenment on exclusive breastfeeding of babies within six months after birth.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed and the Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Tejinder Sadhu, gave the charge yesterday in their separate remarks at a two-day media workshop on breastfeeding and Global Breastfeeding Collective.
The workshop was organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF and UK Department for International Development (DFID) as a part of activities marking the world breastfeeding week.
The minister stressed that the need to create adequate awareness on exclusive breastfeeding in the country had become imperative.
He urged governments, at all levels, as well as stakeholders to take necessary steps in achieving the goal.
On his part, Sadhu said breastfeeding enhanced child good health, survival after birth and mental capacity. Also, Wellbeing Foundation Africa has restated the importance of exclusive breast-feeding and the need to sustain it for up to two years of a bay’s life.
Against this background, a training programme was organised in Lagos State to enlighten nursing mothers on the need to exclusively breastfeed their children.
The founded, Senate President’s wife, Oluwatoyin Saraki, organised the two-day workshop under the auspices of Mamacare Midwives, an antenatal and post-natal education vehicle of the foundation.
The workshop, which had over 200 nursing mothers in attendance, was held at Island Maternity, Lagos Island and 9 Brigade Medical Centre, Ikeja Military Cantonment, Lagos.
Midwifery Programme Officer for Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Lagos Office, Mrs. Eunice Akhigbe, said babies must be exclusively breastfed for six months without water or pacifier.
Benefits of exclusive breastfeeding to the baby, according to her, include vital nutrients in adequate and right proportion as well as immunity to the baby via the mother.
According to her, breastfeeding also promotes bonding between the mother and her child, adding that it helps to fight against some health challenges like constipation and heart problem at that tender age.
On the benefits to the mothers, she explained that exclusive breastfeeding helps the womb to move to its original position after delivery and also helps mothers to fight against breast cancer.