The Consultant Paediatrician with Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Jabi, Dr. Bessie Eziechila says two years is the normal duration for breastfeeding for the advantage of both child and mother.
Eziechila told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday that “two years is the complete, adequate period and ideal for breastfeeding a child.’’
She urged working mothers to explore necessary avenues of breastfeeding their children for their wellbeing, saying “working mothers can express breast milk and store for varying number of hours depending on the mode of storage.’’
“Their work environment can also be made baby-friendly to enable them to breastfeed at work, I mean when they resume from maternity leave,” Eziechila said.
She described breastfeeding as a non-negotiable aspect of childcare, adding “it is a roadmap to healthy society’’.
NAN reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended the practice of up to two years and beyond for breastfeeding.
Exclusive breastfeeding which is described as the best, according to pediatricians helps in family planning by slowing the return of ovulation.
Medical experts are of the opinion that children exclusively breastfed tend to be healthier and more intelligent than others.
In related development, the State Nutrition Officer, Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHDA), Regina Adie, had said that only 7.8 percent of mothers in Cross River exclusively breastfed their babies.
The official said that CRSPHDA wanted all mothers in the state to not only know the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding but the fact that breast milk was a natural food created by God to enhance good health in babies.
According to her, the state is trying to eliminate the cultural practice of given babies water along with breast milk in the first few months of delivery to ensure healthy babies.
She noted that exclusive breastfeeding was for the benefit of babies, mothers and the nation at large.
“Mothers should ensure that in the first 1,000 days of their babies’ lives, breast milk should be given exclusively and regularly because we discovered that most of our mothers lacked awareness,” she said.
“When a baby is delivered, its intestines are very tender; it is breast milk that helps the child eliminate every impurity in the baby, as it serves as antibiotics.
“Also, the yellowish milk from the mother contains Vitamin A, which is very good for the child’s sight; in fact, the importance of breast milk cannot be over-emphasized.
“When you start introducing artificial milk or water early, you introduce foreign bodies into the baby, especially the water, because the sources are often suspect and may lead to diarrhea.”