Sustaining Breastfeeding

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A mother breast feeding her babies.

Do you know  that breast milk has the potential to reduce ear infection as well as lower the risk for asthma? Many mothers up till now are yet to come to terms with the working of this wonder milk. While some of them feel that feeding babies exclusively with breast milk is an indication of  lack of financial muscle to foot the cost of baby formula. Others give excuses as flimsy as not wanting their breasts to sag as  that is the only way they could retain their pointing  posture even after giving birth. These are some  of the reasons every year the international community rolls out her drums to celebrate breast feeding for a week-long period.
Exclusively, feeding babies with breast milk, experts say, does more good than any one can explain. Apart from reducing ear infection and asthma, which many may be hearing for the first time, a bump in IQ (Intelligent Quotient) is also inclusive. This means that breast milk does not only benefit the child, it does benefit the mother and the society at large.
Other times, organizers of breast feeding week programme have had to contend with getting the mothers themselves to acknowledge the importance of this all-important baby meal and to key into the six months programme of feeding babies exclusively on breast milk. This year, it is believed that without the concerted support of all, the sustainable millennium development goal for health will remain a mirage. The theme for this year’s breast feeding week, “sustaining breastfeeding together”, is therefore, a call for husbands, siblings, employers, colleagues etc to be supportive of the exclusive breast feeding initiative.
It is developed within the frame work of an articulated support from the baby, mother, partner, family, community as well as the workplace and government. This framework is geared towards achieving the sustainable development goals which could well remain a mirage without a multi-level partnerships at all levels. It is therefore, about working together in harmony for a common goal.
Traditionally, support comes from the family. When the lactating mother is assisted in all spheres, she is encouraged to have enough time and milk for her child. Increasing urbanization may well include support from friends, employers, health workers and lactation consultants.
Calling all and sundry to join hands together to sustain breast feeding is same as making the world understand that breast feeding is one of the major route to a healthier society. Only an acknowledgement of this notion, can arouse the needed communal efforts for a successful breast feeding initiative.
An employer that understands that a well or exclusively breasfed child is one that is equipped with a high immunity to rebuff pneumonia, cold and viruses as well as gastrointestinal infections like diarrhea – which could  be devastating, and chronic conditions such as type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease (inflammation of the digestive tract) is in better position to be liberal with maternity vacations or make provision for a crèche in the workplace.
This arrangement saves the mother the distraction and lack of concentration on job that could be occasioned by the need to go and serve the need of the new born.
A husband that understands that exclusive breast feeding could help his wife recover quickly from the trauma of pregnancy and child birth, would do everything possible to encourage her embrace exclusive breast feeding. Moreso, a woman that knows that this programme can enable her fight against premenopausal breast cancer and osteoporosis as well as Ovarian Cancer, does not need to be wooed into the programme.
Together, the world is saying, we can sustain breastfeeding. Therefore let us join hands to create a healthier society through exclusive breastfeeding.

Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi