A professsor of Perinatal- Neonatal Medicine and Paediatrics at the Univesity of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Professor Kareem Airede has called for family and community support for mothers practicising exclusive breastfeeding in view of its inherent benefits to the new born, mother and the society.
Prof. Airede made the call in a lecture titled: “Supporting the Breast feeding Mother” he delivered at the 2019 World Breastfeeding Week celebration by the Department of Paediatrics of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital. He said breast milk has been classified as food because it does not require universal precautions for handling body fluids. Prof. Airede held that everything in breast milk comes from the mother’ s body and already custom- made for her baby’s needs adding that, this not only saves money for the family but also strengthens the bond between the baby and the mother. The Prefessor noted that breastfed children come out healthier and with high reduction in morbidity and mortality. “ Breastfeeding is best for growing infants for the first six months,” he added. Prof. Airede called for a policy that would promote work schedule flexibility for breastfeeding mothers as this would also enhance productivity in the work place of mothers and reduce huge loss in work hour. He appealed to the mass media to portray breastfeeding as a norm while employers of labour should provide space and t ime to accommodate milk expression.
Earlier in an address of welcome, the Head, Department of Paediatrics, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Dr. Richard Onalo thanked the Chief Medical Director, Professor Bissallah Ekele and the Top Management Committee of the Hospital for supporting the department in the preparations preceeding the breastfeeding week celebration. He appealed to mothers to undertake six months and if possible, more of exclusive breastfeeding of their new born as it was good for the health of both babies and mothers.
The theme of the celebration was: “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding.” The celebration also featured, a playlet to drive home the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, by students of the Federal Capital Territory School of Nursing, Gwagwalada.