Nigerian women have been advised to practice exclusive breastfeeding to boost the health of nursing mothers and children.
UNICEF Chief Nutrition Officer Nemat Hajeebhoy, stated this at a breastfeeding breakfast meeting in Abuja.
The Nutrition expert urged all relevant stakeholders to change the nutrition indices that are coming out of Nigeria.
” I have seen some data coming out and this is showing that we are on the right track. The news is just on some indicators and not so on others collectively. On an average rate, a mother should breastfeed 10 to 12 times for 24 hours in a circle.”
“We are asking women to breastfeed for at least one thousand eight hundred times, in six months. I charge any of us here to try something for thirty minutes ten times a day every week for six months.”
Speaking at the event, the Minister of state for health Ekumankama Joseph Nkama, said integrating breastfeeding support into workplace culture ensures good business sense, lower absenteeism, and improves corporate knowledge in society.
He added that well-breastfed babies have stronger immunities, and reduce the risk of infections and childhood illnesses, with long time benefits including reducing the risk of obesity in childhood and adolescence.
According to the Minister of State for health, organisations should support nursing mothers through the provision of breastfeeding and nursing rooms.
Breastfeeding support is crucial as it provides immense health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both children and mothers”.
“Exclusive breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and can even reduce the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Many women desire to breastfeed when they have children but they are less likely once they return to work because of lack of support”.
The President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria Professor Wasiu Afolabi said Breast milk is the first immunization given to a baby, especially if given between one hour of birth.
The President who was represented by the FCT Chapter President Dr Florence Uchendu said the capacity of health workers should be strengthened to provide adequate nutrition in terms of nutrition.
“A child exclusively breastfed for two years of life has been given a very solid nutritional foundation to face life. Such a child will not be malnourished and will have very high nutrition protection to decrease incidences of infections and diseases”.
” We must strengthen the capacity to protect, promote and support breastfeeding at different levels of the society, especially among health workers young women, neighbours, friends, co-workers and other stakeholders wherever they are located in the country”.