The Head of Department, Dietetics and Nutrition, Alimosho General Hospital, Igando, Mrs. Oludayo Sowoolu-Coates, has urged healthcare workers to ensure mothers’ breastfeed their babies within the first two hours of birth, as well as practice exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of the baby’s life.
Speaking at the grand finale of a week-long event organised to mark World Breastfeeding awareness program tagged “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding”, Sowoolu-Coates revealed that the composition of the breast milk changes after two days, hence, it is imperative that the baby does not miss the milk referred to as the colostrum, which is the yellowish breastmilk in the first five days of birth.
“Many mothers believe the colostrum is the dirty fluid that could harm their babies, hence, it is pertinent we educate them on its importance in order to encourage them to initiate their infants to breastfeeding upon birth. This is the first immunisation which offers all the nutritional requirements for healthy growth”, she added.
Sowoolu-Coates explained that the World Health Organisation recommended that newborns are breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life. However, 46.6% of mothers still give their children water and breast milk.
She asserted that exclusive breastfeeding does not include water and that the breast milk contains 80% of water, which is all a newborn baby needs in order to stay strong and healthy.
Enumerating the challenges of working nursing mothers, the Nutritionist called on employers to provide daycare facilities within their organisations to encourage breastfeeding, stressing that no mother should have to choose between providing for their family economically and caring for their children.
While reiterating the importance of breast milk to the baby’s developmental needs, Dr. Adeline Akinyoola, a Paediatrician said breastfeeding reduces child mortality even as it avails benefits that extend to adulthood, noting that breast milk contains all the energy and nutrients a child needs.
In her remarks, Dr. Odufunke Odukoya-Maijeh, who represented the Medical Director, Dr. Madewa Adebajo commended the Dietetics and Nutrition Department for collaborating with Nestle Nigeria for a very enlightening session targeted at inciting healthcare workers towards the act, adding that enlightenment on breastfeeding should be a collective effort by everybody.
“I urge everyone to support breastfeeding and help out where necessary. Bosses should be more sensitive to the need of their staff members who are breastfeeding. I promise to make a submission to the Medical Director to look into providing a daycare centre in Alimosho General hospital” he said