The Enugu State Government has called for the proper practice of the exclusive breastfeeding in order to maximise its benefit to the child, mother and the community.
It said this entailed giving the baby water for first six months without mixing with any form of food.
Dr George Ugwu, Executive Secretary, Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), disclosed this in an interview with FELLOW PRESS in Enugu on Saturday.
Ugwu spoke on the background of the ongoing month-long statewide exclusive breastfeeding sensitisation organised by ENS-PHCDA, which started on Aug. 1.
He said that during exclusive breastfeeding, the feeding of the baby should be done on the baby’s demand for food and “never on the personal timing or convenience of the nursing mother’’.
The executive secretary also said that the nursing mother should adopt a right and up-right sitting position during breastfeeding as well as ensure that the baby’s head is slightly up-right.
He said that the massive statewide sensitisation on exclusive breastfeeding at PHC centres and public places/gatherings would be used to teach nursing mothers local and cheap nutritious foods that would assist them in doing exclusive breastfeeding.
According to him, we want exclusive breastfeeding to support the Agency routine and special immunisations for us to produce fast growing and developing babies and in the long run reduce illness among infants generally.
“The state government have trained, retrained and deployed state and local government health and exclusive breastfeeding educators, local health focal persons and volunteers on vital exclusive breastfeeding messages and demonstrations.
“This move coupled with our ongoing routine and special immunisations will definitely reduce the health burden of infants within the state.
“It will largely complement what Her Excellency, Mrs Monica Ugwuanyi, is already doing on ensuring that children in Enugu State do not have stunted growth/development due to malnutrition and lack of nutritious feeding from the early days of life.’’
The executive secretary also emphasised on the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding of the child within the first one hour of birth, and exclusively, running for six months without water.
He said that there was need to introduce solid local nutritious foods after six months to complement continuous exclusive breastfeeding, meant to last for two years or beyond.
“Breast milk remains the only prescribed and balanced food for babies as it contains natural antibodies that help fight viruses and bacteria, as well as lower babies’ risk of having asthma or allergies,’’ he said.
FELLOW PRESS reports that 2020 World Breastfeeding Week, which was held from Aug. 1 to Aug. 7, had the themed; “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet.’’