Mrs Olubunmi Aiyedun, the President National Association of Nigeria Paediatric Nurses says exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of infections in babies.
Aiyedun made this known on Thursday in Abuja at a forum of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Aiyedun spoke against the backdrop of the 2017 World Breastfeeding Week with the theme; “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together’’ scheduled to begin on August 1.
Explaining the composition of breast milk, she said it the “fore and hind milk’’ adding “the fore milk has water and other nutrients such as vitamin `A’ among others’’.
“Fore milk is the milk which is first drawn during few minutes of feeding. It is generally thin and lower in fat content, satisfying the baby’s thirst and liquid needs.
“Hind milk is the milk which follows the fore milk during breastfeeding. It is richer in fat content and high in calories. The high fat and calorie content of this milk is important for the baby’s health and continuous growth,’’ she said.
According to the pediatrician, breastfeeding plays a key role in newborns and child development, as a child that is exclusively breastfed will live a healthy life as well as achieve his full potential.
“Breast milk is adequate and ideal food for newborns and serves as first immunization.
“The source of breastfeeding is from the brain and when you are in a good state, you have globulin `A’, enzymes, protein, carbohydrates, minerals and lactose which helps in the development of a child.
“Breastfeeding is the first immunity for the child, which helps to fight against diarrhea, and pneumonia among others,’’ she said.
Similarly, Mrs Grace Mojekwu, the Desk Officer, Infant and Young Child Feeding/Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health encouraged mothers to breastfeed their children exclusively in the first six months of their lives to ensure healthy living.
On the number of times a baby should be fed, Mojekwu said babies should be fed at least eight to 12 times daily, and urged mothers to avoid distraction when breastfeeding.
According to her, breastfeeding is a serious business that requires the mother’s total attention for quality feeding.
Mojekwu expressed displeasure on the low rate of exclusive breastfeeding among many mothers in the country.
“We encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed their children at least six months before they introduce formulas and water.
“It is also beneficial to breastfeed for two years because it helps in the overall development of the child.
“Our mothers breastfeed, but we advise exclusive breastfeeding for the child because it has all the nutrients the child requires.
“A well breastfed child will sleep well and the mother also will have enough rest and take care of herself which will help in boosting production of milk.
“We also encourage mothers to eat very well and ensure the child is well breastfed because it is the suckling that helps produce more milk,’’ Mojekwu advised. (NAN)