Lagos State First Lady, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has urged expectant and nursing mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months after delivery, saying doing so would go a long way to improve child growth and development.
Sanwo-Olu’s wife, in a message to commemorate 2020 World Breastfeeding Week, said the importance of exclusive breastfeeding could not be over-emphasised, hence the need for mothers to embrace the practice to safeguard the health of their babies.
“As a mother and physician myself, I have a clear idea of the high impact of exclusive breastfeeding on maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition, hence the need for expectant and nursing mothers to be encouraged to embrace the practice to improve child growth and development.
“When observed for the first six months after birth, exclusive breastfeeding helps in no small measure to reduce morbidity in children. It helps to strengthen the immune system and protects against serious diseases such as respiratory infections, low growth, diarrhoea and pneumonia, among others,” she said.
The First Lady added that observing exclusive breastfeeding was equally beneficial to nursing mothers, as it helps mothers to burn extra calories and also lowers their risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as Osteoporosis, a medical condition in which the bones become fragile from loss of tissue.
“Without mincing words, there are several benefits inherent in strict adherence to the practice of exclusive breastfeeding for both children and mothers, and it is for this reason that I urge expectant and nursing mothers to embrace it to safeguard the health of their children,” the First Lady advised.
Sanwo-Olu’s wife maintained that the theme of this year’s celebration: “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet” could not have come at a better time than now, because it emphasises the need to keep babies healthy through breastfeeding.
“This has brought to the fore the need for all, especially relatives, colleagues and the community generally to make it a priority to support expectant and nursing mothers to observe exclusive breastfeeding for the recommended period.
“It is our collective responsibility to create the enabling environment for mothers to breastfeed optimally in the interest of the health of our children and mothers,” she explained.
The World Breastfeeding Week, which was inaugurated in 1991, is celebrated annually from August 1 to 7 in over 120 countries across the globe to promote breastfeeding as an effective practice to engender mother and child wellbeing.