There is no excuse for a healthy mother not to breastfeed her baby according to Dr. Nkiruka Asumah, a pediatrician in a chat with Kiddiesafricanews Correspondent recently.
She said, “everything requires hard work. If you are determined and you know the benefits, especially in this time of technology where you can access information, breastfeeding will be easy and enjoyable. Once you are aware, you will know that breastfeeding is enough to sustain your baby at least for the first 6 months. You can’t rule out that some new mothers are worried and so our duty is to explain to them. That is why it is important to attend antenatal clinics.
“The greatest thing is that breastfeeding reduces the risk of allergies and reduces respiratory illness. There is no special food. Mothers should eat properly, and eat healthily. If you have always been eating healthy, you don’t need to change”.
Why mothers should breastfeed their babies
According to Dr. Nkiruka Asumah, breastfeeding is natural, cheap, easily available, which does not require measurement or reconstitution, and has no additives or preservatives. It is what nature intended. There is little or no excuse for a healthy mother not to breastfeed her baby.
She said breast milk is specifically made for the human newborn. Mothers should take advantage of the colostrums, which is the initial sticky yellow milk that is produced from the breast the first few days after birth.
“It contains anti-infective properties and helps to build up the immune system. It creates a tough coating for the baby’s stomach and intestines and encourages the passage of the dark sticky stools (meconium) that the baby passes out in the first few days of life. It also contains protein, salts, fats, and vitamins. It is easily digestible and it is even recommended for premature babies as soon as possible after birth, a drop can be placed in the baby’s mouth.
“Breast milk contains antibodies and reduces the risk of respiratory illnesses in the newborn. Research also shows that children who are breastfed later grow up to be more intelligent than others who are not.
Several studies indicate that the cause of childhood mortality is due to lack of proper breastfeeding and that is why much emphasis has been placed on exclusively breastfeeding infants during the first six months after birth.
The current infant mortality rate for Nigeria in 2022 is 56.220 deaths per 1000 live births, a 2.57% decline from 2021. The infant mortality rate for Nigeria in 2021 was 57.701 deaths per 1000 live births, a 2.5% decline from 2020.
To further reduce this mortality rate globally and especially in our dear country still experiencing high mortality rate, the 2022 theme for World Breastfeeding Week, ‘Step up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support’, is to further raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding the child and the mother alike.
World Breastfeeding Week is marked globally every first week in August to promote the benefits of breastfeeding. The World Breastfeeding Week is considered one of the largest joint campaigns undertaken by international organizations such as The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.