By Ikenna Osuoha
Ms May Ikokwu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Save Our Heritage Initiative (SOHI) and culture advocate on Tuesday says breastfeeding is culturally and medically beneficial to both mother and baby.
Ikokwu said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week which spans from Aug. 1 to Aug. 7 yearly.
She said that breastfeeding is culturally acceptable because it promotes stronger immune systems for mother and baby.
“A baby that is well breastfed has a tendency of having less diarrhea and constipation.
”The baby will have fewer incidences of cold and respiratory illnesses like pneumonia, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and whooping cough,” she said.
The culture advocate who described breastfeeding as key to healthy living, said that it reduces ear infections, especially those that damage hearing.
Ikokwu, therefore, advised mothers to always breastfeed their babies, which she said is paramount in giving the child life and personality.
The SOHI boss reemphasised the benefits of breastfeeding which according to her promotes faster weight loss after birth, burning about 500 extra calories a day to build and maintain a milk supply for the mother.
She explained that it also helps to stimulate the uterus to contract and return to normal size.
The culture advocate said that breastfeeding was part of the practices in the African culture that helped Africans to live healthy lives in the past.
She said that big establishments are encouraged to have a small nursery where nursing mothers may leave their babies for easy accessibility to breastfeed.
Ikokwu urged some nursing mothers who go back to work after their maternity, where possible, to leave express milk that is refrigerated at home and warmed when needed to feed the baby.
According to her, another option available for working mothers is to get a wet nurse to breastfeed the baby since human milk is still better for the baby than cow or goat milk.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World Breastfeeding Week begins each year on Aug. 1 and runs right through until the Aug. 7.
Breastfeeding week aims at raising awareness of the health and wellbeing outcomes of breastfeeding and the importance of supporting mothers to breastfeed for as long as they wish. (NAN) www.nannews.ng
Edited by Julius Toba-Jegede