As the world marks breast feeding week, a larger percentage of nursing mothers in Ebonyi State are yet to embrace exclusive breast feeding, according to the state’s Ministry of Health.
The ministry said out of 15, 303 nursing women in the state that were counselled on the need for exclusive breast feeding between January and July this year, only 8,873 nursing mothers adopted exclusive breast feeding.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umezuruike made this known yesterday at a press briefing to mark this year’s world breast feeding week.
He noted that 5,127 mothers were practising complementary feeding up to 18 months while 927 children were being assisted to eat by their fathers.
Dr Umezuruike enumerated the benefits of exclusive breast feeding to include prevention of diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections, ear infections among others.
He added that optimal feeding practices, including early initiation of exclusive breast feeding and continued breast feeding while providing complementary foods, could reduce mortality rate among children up to 25 percent.
He said: “Breast feeding helps mothers and babies to establish a close and loving relationship. Exclusive Breast feeding and breast feeding on demand especially in the nights delays the return of menses and ovulation hence promoting child spacing.
“Breast feeding is also important for women; assisting to prevent post partum hemorrhage and weight loss after delivery. It also helps to protect mothers from breast and ovarian cancer and other diseases such as diabetes and osteoporosis.”
Umezuruike maintained that the overall goal of the celebration was to promote child survival through optimal feeding of children as optimal Infant and Young Child feeding practices would ensure developmental milestones in the first 1, 000 days of a child life.

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