‘Exclusive breastfeeding reduces cardiovascular disease in children’
Mothers In North Identify Challenges At Workplaces
The United Nations Children (UNICEF) has said that exclusive breastfeeding reduces risk of cardiovascular disease in children through life, lowers risk of childhood cancer (including leukemia lower and reduces risk of childhood obesity.
The global children body advised mothers against giving water to their breastfeeding babies in the first six months of life, as ‘’breast milk contains everything a baby needs to quench thirst and satisfy hunger.’’
UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, Philomena Irene, who stated this at a two-day World Breastfeeding Week Media Dialogue organised by the Bauchi Field Office, observed that breast milk is the best possible food and drink that can be offered a baby so the baby will grow to be strong and healthy, stressing that caution should be taken to ensure that water and other liquids do not replace breastmilk.
Meanwhile, working mothers in states across the North have identified lack of support at the workplace as one of the reasons the women stop breastfeeding before the recommended time.
A mother who spoke during a field trip expressed sadness that unfriendly workplace had made it cumbersome for them to breastfeed their newborns as expected.
Irene also noted that ‘’breast milk acts as a baby’s first vaccine and affects and that breastfeeding gives all children the healthiest start in life and offers life-saving benefits to children and women. ‘’
She said: “Breast milk contains antibodies that help baby fight off viruses, bacteria and infections and exclusively Breastfed babies have fewer infections visits to the doctor, decreases incidence and severity of diarrhea, lowers respiratory infections and acute otitis media, lower incidence of dental caries and malocclusion,₋ reduce the risk of childhood obesity and diabetes and increases intelligence. ‘’
Irene said that an estimated 13% of child deaths could be averted if 90% of mothers exclusively breastfed their infants for the first six months of life adding the laying breastfeeding by 2-23 hours after birth increases the risk of a baby dying in the first 28 days of a baby’s life by 40 per cent
Breastfeeding and Economic & Environmental cost Economic and Environmental Cost of Not Breastfeeding • Babies who are not breastfed have lower IQs , reducing their chance of achieving good education and subsequently earning less later in life• Low Breastfeeding rates contribute to increased sickness, thereby incurring higher care and treatment costs”•
She urged state governors and House of Assemblies to fully implement the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant WHO Assembly resolutions through strong measures that are enforced and independently and monitored by NAFDAC, Ministry of Health and the Primary Development Agencies.
She noted that the production, packaging , storing , distribution and preparation of infant formula contributes to environmental damage and increased expenditure for families
Irene stressed the need to create enabling environment for exclusive breastfeeding by enacting legislation on 6 months paid maternity leave, breastfeeding breaks and crèches and also enforce and monitor compliance to the code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes.
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