You can lose that baby if you don’t breastfeed him for six months

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Why would a mother not breastfeed her child? If our mothers had known, if they had had the opportunity of understanding the importance of appropriate infant and young child feeding and the effect on national economic development, perhaps many of us would have done better in our various fields.
But research shows that simple things like introducing babies to breast within 30 minutes of birth and breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months as well as continuing with appropriate complementary feeding would reduce infants mortality. Even today’s mothers who are more informed are making the situation worse.
The campaign about the nutritional status of children in the first six months of life makes no meaning to many of them. Some have infant joined the bandwagon of those in favour of  breastmilk substitutes even when they have no health challenges.
Women whose husbands ordinarily could not afford infant formula are made to go through a lot of financial stress. It is almost becoming a status thing among women. Also the healthcare givers who should know better are aiding improper feeding of these newborns.
Mrs. Vera Odibu is one of these Nigerian women who are yet to be convinced on the need to breastfeed their babies exclusively for six months. “I did not breastfed my two children exclusively and I don’t intend to do that in the future. Infact, it is not possible,”Vera declared.
A bank executive, she believes that breastfeeding is for full-time house wives. However, her children have been denied the benefits of human milk which experts say is better than any food. Science has proved that breastmilk is a complex living substance like blood with a long list of active germ-fighting and health-promoting ingredients.
While Vera is wallowing in ignorance, Gladys Ejifoma was denied the opportunity of adding to the country’s Exclusive Breastfeeding Rate (EBR) which 2013 National Nutritional Health Survey, NNHS, put at 17 percent compared to about 63 percent in Ghana.
Gladys was eager to change but the failure of nurses to prepare her for lactation during ante-natal visits denied her the opportunity.
“I tried all I could but my breast was not bringing milk. I was asked to do all manner of things including using native comb to massage my breasts. I took all kinds of food but all to no avail,” she stated.
Four months after, she noticed some change in her nipples.   Further examination showed that she has inverted nipples.
“I was able to correct it but it was late.   It was my first child. I had no experience.   I think nurses should be re-trained on some of these things. I delivered my baby in hospital under the supervision of health workers. Nobody told me about inverted nipples; all I was told was to clean my nipples. It is even the nurses that will encourage you to give milk.”
Simple massaging of the breast would have solved Gladys’s problems but she did not have that information.
Vera and Gladys are lucky to have their babies alive, but Mrs. Maymunar Ali was unfortunate. Her child died at four months, no thanks to diarrhoea. Maymunar had all going well for her until she resumed work after three months of maternity leave. Owing to the fact that the company where she worked had no crèche, Maymunar was forced to leave the child at home with a house maid.
She was confident that the baby had enough to eat and drink since she had one week before resumption introduced the baby to infant formula. But little did she know what fate had in stock for her. It was around 11am when her phone rang. The maid at the other end of the phone told her to  return home as fast as she could.
She ran back home only to find her baby almost dead. She rushed her to  hospital. The baby was dehydrated and was diagnosed with diarrhoea. The baby was treated and discharged. A month after, the diarrhoea  came back but this time more serious. Efforts to save the baby proved abortive.
Maymunar lost her child.