ABUJA, AUGUST 1, 2016 – The Federal Government has advised nursing mothers to commence breastfeeding within 30 minutes of child’s birth to enhance healthy living of the child.Dr Chris Isokpunwu, who is the Head of Nutrition in the Ministry of Health, gave the advice at the inauguration of the 2016 Breastfeeding Week on Monday in Abuja.
It was organised by the Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) in Abuja.
Theme of the week is: “Breastfeeding: A Key to Sustainable Development’’.
The theme is breastfeeding in relation to sustainability, and most importantly to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Isokpunwu described exclusive breastfeeding in the first 1,000 days of child’s live as crucial to child’s survival and as well protect the child from frequent illnesses.
He called for the timely introduction and right frequency of adequate complementary foods.
The nutritionist said that the week was aimed at drawing attention to the importance and the benefits of breastfeeding, creating awareness and mobilising the society to support and protect breastfeeding.
“Breast milk is good for the child and exclusive breastfeeding protects the child from ill-health, frequent illnesses and also ensure that there is a reduction in the number of time a child is exposed to infections,’’ Isokpunwu said.
He said that the effort of the federal government to reactivate the baby friendly initiative was laudable, saying that it will enhance effective breastfeeding.
“We need to protect breastfeeding and support breastfeeding in work places, and we are calling on the private sectors to set up crèches, especially the big ones.
“The small ones can set up breastfeeding rooms and encourage women to go on breastfeeding break to adequately breast feed their children,’’ Isokpunwu said.
Also, Mr Zakaria Fusheini, a Nutrition Advocacy Specialist with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), urged the federal government to initiate policies that would address challenges facing mothers in breastfeeding their children.
He urged the government to also galvanise efforts and mobilise resources toward ensuring that mothers have the needed support to exclusively breastfeed their children.
“It is not enough to urge mothers to exclusively breastfeed their children in the first six months of lives, but adequate modalities and policies, among others, must be put in place to make such practice fulfilling,’’ he said.