As a way of discouraging the lackadaisical attitude of women to breastfeeding, the Rotary International, District 9125, Nigeria, has called on well meaning Nigerians to empower and support breastfeeding mothers working in public and private sectors.
In a press release sent to the Nigerian Pilot to mark the end of the World Breast Feeding Week, Rotary emphasised the need to breastfeed infants as essential to the reproductive health for women and children.
According to the District Governor, Dr. Mike Omotosho, “babies have specific nutritional needs and are born with undeveloped immune system. Therefore, infants and young children need food that meets these demands. Breast milk remains the best food for infants, as it provides both nutrients and immune support, which contribute to optimal survival, growth, and development.
“Breastfeeding is essential for babies, especially those under six months. Experts advice that infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond.
“Every year, Nigeria joins over 170 countries to celebrate the World Breastfeeding Week following, the 1990 Innocenti Declaration, which affirms that breastfeeding protection, promotion and support is ideal.”
He disclosed that the 2013 NDHS Report reveals that exclusive breastfeeding rate in the first six months was only 17%, while initiation was 33%.
Omotosho stated, “to this end, 2015 theme is ‘Breastfeeding and Work: let’s make it work’, which re-emphasises ‘multi-dimensional support targeted at sensitising secular or religious workplaces, and communities to support working nursing mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding, particularly during working hours.
“Breast milk promotes sensory and cognitive development, and protects the infant against infectious and chronic diseases. Exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea or pneumonia, and helps quick recovery during illness.’’
“Breastfeeding contributes to the health and well-being of mothers; it helps to space children, reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer, increases family and national resources, is a secure way of feeding and is safe for the environment.’’
“Mothers and other caregivers require active support for establishing and sustaining appropriate breastfeeding practices. Often, working class mothers are able to get off to a good start with breastfeeding but suddenly decline in breastfeeding rates and deterioration of exclusive breastfeeding. This is a unique period when mothers need help most, the time when they do not visit the healthcare facility but they have regular relationship with their community,” he noted.
The Rotary club further gave keys on breastfeeding as Put-baby-to-breast within 30 minutes of delivery.
Give Colostrums, the first thick yellowish milk as immediate natural immunisation.
Give baby only breast milk not even water for first 6 months of life, even if HIV-exposed infant.
Stop other milks, fluids, foods, no glucose or herbal drinks not even water in the first 6 months.
Allow baby to suckle and empty each breast to get both watery and fatty portions in breast milk (fore milk and hind milk).
Breastfeed more frequently during and after illness.
Continue breastfeeding along with complementary foods until 2 years or beyond.
Feed baby with expressed breast milk in a clean cup. Do not boil Breast milk. Give mother enough to eat and drink to satisfy her hunger and thirst.

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