Exclusive breastfeeding good for infants, quick recovery after childbirth – Group
President, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) and Network Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW), Modupe Oyekunle, has emphasised the importance of breast milk to child brain development, increased intelligence and productivity.
According to her, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months protects infants against diarrhea and common childhood illnesses such as pneumonia, and may also have long-term health benefits for the mother and child, such as reducing the risk of overweight.
Speaking in Ikeja, Lagos, during an event, Oyekunle explained that mothers who breastfeed their child well recover from childbirth more quickly and easily.
Her words: “The hormone oxytocin released during breastfeeding, acts to return the uterus to its regular size more quickly and can reduce postpartum bleeding. For any organisation that promotes and protects maternity, it will eventually lead to a productive workforce and a stronger economy.”
Programme Director, Alive and Thrive, Dr. Uche Ralp-Okpara said despite the benefits of breast milk, 25 percent or less of the infants in the country are not breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life.
She said: “Giving infants water before the age of six months reduces breast milk intake and supply, hinders absorption of nutrients from breast milk and increases the risk of illness from contaminated water and feeding bottles especially in emergency situations.”