Stories by Sola Ogundipe

MEDICAL experts have stressed the essence of breastfeeding as the best source of nutrients for infants within the first six months of life. They spoke at the 6th Olu Akinkugbe WAMCO Nutrition Centre seminar in Lagos, sponsored by FrieslandCampina WAMCO Plc. Theme of the event was “Improving Infant Nutrition in Nigeria.” A specialist in Internal Medicine and youth healthcare in the Netherlands, Prof. Anneke Bulk- Bunschoten of the VU Medical Centre Amsterdam, Netherlands, observed that breastfeeding is adaptable to age and needs of the child except in the situation where a mother or child is sick and cannot be fed on the breast. “Benefits of breastfeeding is in three folds – to the child, mother and the society,” she explained. “To the child, breast milk protects him from infections such as bowel infections and bronchitis, he suffers less development, less obesity, has better attachment to mother and better brain development.”

Breastfeeding in action.

She also said there is need to work on developing evidence-based guidelines for health problems in children and improving their nutrition and minimise their feeding deficiencyin children below 3 years which she described as the critical period.

In the view of Consultant Paediatrician, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Kwekwu Reinner, breastfeeding is best but in cases wherby breastfeeding is not possible, mothers need to be educated on proper feeding methods. Renner whose paper was presented by Dr. Biola Oduwole noted: “Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is still regarded as the best option for the infant, complementary foods are required during the second part of the first year of life for both nutritional and developmental reasons and to allow transition from milk feeding to family foods.

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