By FOLASADE AKPAN
ABUJA- Dr Otuneye Adekunle, a Consultant Pediatrician at the National Hospital, Abuja, says breastfed babies are a pride to the society and will not grow up to become terrorists.
Adekunle said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday on the sidelines of the World Breastfeeding Week celebration at the National Hospital, Abuja.
Members of staff of pediatrics department, National Hospital Abuja during a sensitisation campaign within the hospital to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week
NAN reports that the week is usually commemorated worldwide from Aug. 1 to Aug. 7 every year.
The theme for the 2022 celebration which is ‘Step up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support’, seeks to involve governments, communities and individuals through awareness and advocacy.
Adekunle, also Head of Department, Pediatrics Unit at the hospital, said that breast milk was referred to as the ‘Milk of Kindness’ and ‘Nature’s Wonder’.
According to him, people who have taken the milk of kindness will not grow up to become terrorists because they have seen love and care.
“By the time you take care of a child for two years that thing remains in the child’s brain and psychologically the child is well taken care of.
“The child will not likely develop to be a criminal or be against the society in the future.
“The mother will be able to talk to the child and the child will listen, but a child that was not breastfed that anybody can feed, you can imagine what will happen.
“So, that is why we are trying to encourage people to see the benefits of breastfeeding which goes beyond the baby, the mother, the family and even the community,” he said.
Adekunle said that it also benefited the nation’s economy as the baby formulas are usually imported.
Speaking on the health benefits of breastfeeding babies for both the mother and child, Adekunle said that breastfeeding babies would reduce the nation’s child mortality rate as less children would fall sick.
He also said that maternal mortality rate would reduce.
“For those six months of breast feeding, the baby will not be contaminated with anything, grow optimally qualitatively not quantitatively.
“For the mother also if she breast feed her baby the way she should fully breast feed her baby, she will come back to her normal size early, she will not bleed too much during delivery and not become anaemic, so the risk of dying is less.
“For the family, they are going to spend less money of course because they will spend less money on breastfeeding compared to all the other options available like formula.”
Adekunle said that the proper thing was to breastfeed babies within one hour after birth to give them the colostrum in the breast milk and then exclusively for the first six months of life after which other foods could be introduced gradually for up to two years and beyond.
“From six months you will introduce complimentary feeds. The baby needs the two years of breastfeeding because everything that baby needs for normal brain development comes from breast milk.
“Eighty per cent of brain development happens within the first two years of life so if a mother breastfeed her baby very well, the baby grows well.
“Also, breastfeeding is a life saving intervention because it is possible to do it during war or economic downturn and during crisis is the only thing that’s available.”
He, however, said that for mothers who do not lactate early or at all, they should seek medical help and counseling on how to go about it.
He urged fathers to also support mothers in promoting exclusive breastfeeding for babies.
The Deputy Director, Nursing Services, Mrs Ugafor Ofunne, said that for working mothers, breast milk could be stored at room temperature for eight hours or in the freezer for even up to a year.
“They can store their expressed milk in a container and jut put it on the table for eight hours, apart from that they can even express in the middle of night for mothers who are lactating so much, they can produce up to 10 litres.
“So we advise such mothers to share into small containers and store in the freezer and when you bring it out you leave it at room temperature to defrost. You don’t boil it, you don’t warm just leave it me to get back to its normal state.”
Mrs Puwu Jospeh, a mother of three said that she breastfed her two previous babies exclusively for six months.
According to her, she really enjoyed the experience because there was no record of sickness all through.
She added that she had made up her mind to exclusively breastfeed her third baby and advised other mothers to do same for optimal results.
Mrs Helen Ikechukwu, a first time mother said she was well aware of the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding as she was told about it during ante-natal clinics and had made up her mind to practice it.
” It is a welcome idea for me and my baby because I have come to understand that breastfeeding is something that helps the baby to develop mentally and health wise.
“I had the idea before I took in so though this is my first baby, I already decided that I would breastfeed for six months exclusively.” (NAN)