Medical experts have called for the promotion and encouragement of breastfeeding practice at different levels of the society.
They reiterated that exclusive breastfeeding remains the best and safest health practice for nursing mothers and their babies.
One of them, who is the wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu said the society must promote and support exclusive breastfeeding for newborn babies from the first hour of birth to at least six months.
The First Lady who spoke at the World Breastfeeding Week Commemoration organised by Reals Pharmaceutical, alongside other notable medical experts on infant’s rights reiterated that exclusive breastfeeding remains the best and safest health practice for nursing mothers and their babies.
Giving her keynote speech on this year’s theme: “Step up for breastfeeding, Educate and Support ” Mrs Sanwo-Olu commended the management of Reals Pharmaceutical for living up to expectations on its social responsibility by escalating health advocacy on breastfeeding.
The governor’s wife who was represented by Dr Folasade Fadare at the event held at Sheraton and Towers said the programme focuses on strengthening the capacity of actors to protect, promote and support breastfeeding across different levels of the society.
According to her,” all actors have specific roles to play and they must be well informed, educated and empowered to strengthen their capacity to provide and sustain breastfeeding friendly environments for families in the post-pandemic world.
Dr Sanwo-Olu, therefore, urged fathers, relatives and the community to make it a priority to support nursing mothers to observe exclusive breastfeeding for the recommended period .” It is our collective responsibility to create the enabling environment for nursing mothers to breastfeed optimally in the interest of the health of children
” For us in Lagos State, the State government has implemented far-reaching policies and reforms that would engender a conducive atmosphere for nursing mothers to breastfeed their babies optimally, including six months maternity leave for mothers while the fathers are also entitled to paternity leave, ” Mrs Sanwo-Olu said.
Earlier in her opening remarks, the Group Managing Director, Reals Pharmaceutical, Ade Popoola disclosed that the theme of the 2022 World Breastfeeding commemoration was selected with a view to getting all concerned individuals and organisations informed about their roles in strengthening the warm chain of support for breastfeeding.
He said that the agony of a nursing mother with inadequate breast milk and the pains of her poor baby crying while being breastfed (with little or no milk), is better imagined than experienced.
” This has led Reals Pharm Ltd to look inward and come out with a solution- MAMALAIT GRANULES ( a dietary Supplement for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers). With Mamalait Granules, we now have “ Popoola said.
” The WHO recommends that infants are exclusively breastfed up till six months of age and if possible, continue until they are two years old. However, this is still a far cry as less than half of babies are breastfed until the age of six months.
“While reasons for lactation insufficiency may have been adduced in some cases, it is also pertinent to note that the current realities of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted mothers’ education and support for breastfeeding. Not only does breastfeeding improve children’s health, but it also improves mothers’ health—decreasing their risk of developing several illnesses, such as hypertension, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or type 2 diabetes.”
This occasion therefore not only provides the opportunity to acknowledge the numerous benefits of breastfeeding but also to consider the importance of supportive policies that need to be put in place by governments, health systems, workplaces and communities to encourage it, while also showcasing the roles that are being played to promote exclusive breastfeeding.
In his speech the Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi said about 60 per cent of under-five mortalities are largely due to malnutrition caused by poor breastfeeding practices, and inadequate complementary feeding.
Professor Abayomi hinted that Lagos State has performed better on the national scale of breastfeeding data as the state records 51.8 per cent which is far above the national average of 29 per cent.
Another highlight of the event was the Unveiling of the product -Mamalait and the cutting of the cake to commemorate Breastfeeding week.
Some nursing mothers who had experienced agonies of lactation insufficiency also shared testimonies of their encounter with the new dietary product -Mamalait.
Some of them spoke of how they were subjected to crude methods of taking palm wine and Staut as a means of boosting lactation but to no avail.
There were presentations on Lactation Insufficiency, Challenge and Solutions, Breastfeeding, Place of Nutrition in Lactation and Step up For Breastfeeding, Why and How.
Dr Lanre Kelekun, an O&G consultant underscored the importance of breastfeeding to mothers and infants.
According to him ” the first two years of a child’s life are particularly important, as optimal nutrition during this period lowers morbidity and mortality, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, and fosters better development overall.
Medical experts said optimal breastfeeding is so critical that it could save the lives of children under the age of five yearly.
Another speaker and Dietician Mrs Adefalu Bushrat-Adedoyin urged fathers to always support nursing mothers with a good diet in order to make breastfeeding less tasking.
Amongst the dignitaries were, Pharm Timeyin Ogungbade, Mrs Adeniran, the immediate past Chairperson, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Lagos chapter representing the current PSN chairman and Dr Nmadu, a member of Reals Board of Directors.