BY EMMA UNA
CALABAR- MEN have been advised to keep away from their wives’ breasts while they are breast feeding their children to avoid inflicting wounds on the breasts and exposing the children to infection.
Professor Angela Oyo Ita, the Cross River State Commissioner for Health who gave the advice while flagging- off the 2013 Breast Feeding Week at Akpabuyo local Government Area of the state on Tuesday, stated that men sharing their wives’ breasts while they are breast feeding could inflict wound on the breasts and if the woman is HIV positive, the child could be exposed to the infection.
Professor Oyo Ita who was represented by the Director Nutrition of the Ministry of Health, Mrs Regina Adie called on the women to practice exclusive breast feeding because it has been proven that beast milk contains 80% water and 20% minerals that are essential for the child’s growth.
“The World Health Organisation, the United Nation International Children Educational Fund, and other renown world agencies have carried out studies and it has proven that breast milk is the best in keeping the child healthy, strong and happy”.
She said myths that a child that is exclusively fed on breast milk for six months would at some point die out of thirst is not true because beast milk contains enough water to keep the child happy and satisfied. “Some time ago, we came here and had a meeting with the men and called on them to support their wives to carry out exclusive breast feeding for their children and the men said no because the children would die from the thirst for water, but that is not true”.
The Health Commissioner said the theme for this year’s breast feeding week. ‘Breast Feeding, Close to Mother”, was apt because the relationship between the mother and the child becomes stronger when the mother breast feeds the baby exclusively for six months.
“If you look at the face of your baby during breast feeding, you would see joy and satisfaction on the face and that brings the child closer to the mother”.
Mrs Rosemary Effiong, the Chairman of Akpabuyo Local Government Area said breast feeding keeps children strong and free of health challenges and “We in Akpabuyo do not want to have children who would put unnecessary pressure on our health facilities, so let every mother listen and obey the instruction of the focal person on breast feeding”.
Mrs Effiong who was represented by the Secretary of Council, Mr Edem Okon said the council would continue to offer the needed support to mothers through financial empowerment to enable them feed well to breast feed their children.