…Only 30% Breastfed Exclusively
By Boluwaji Obahopo
LOKOJA – Kogi State government has frowned at the low inclination of women in the state towards exclusive breastfeeding, saying only 30 per cent breastfed exclusively for the required 6 months.
Mrs. Ovayoza Ajaikaye, State Project Manager, Save One Million Lives (SOML) who spoke with Vanguard on the sideline of World Breastfeeding Week (August 1 – 7) said some mothers in the state had shunned exclusive breastfeeding and place less importance on breastfeeding their babies up to two years as recommended by UNICEF.
She said breastfeeding at work was a problem as the state no longer practice the Mothers Friendly Working Office Scheme; where in the past, mothers were encouraged in their respective offices to breastfed, with supports of nutritious items for the mother.
“Only 54% breastfed their babies up to 22 months in Kogi, 84% breastfed exclusively for up to 2 months before introducing artificial supplements, while 45% managed to reach 4 months, with less than 30 percent getting to the recommended 6 months.
“More worrisome is the fact that not up to 40% makes adequate provision to feed their wards up to the 2 years recommendation by UNICEF.”
Mrs Ajakaiye said it’s disheartening that young mothers in the state now felt that their breast is part of their fashion sense and are afraid that breastfeeding their babies will make it sag; and make them less attractive, “No need to breastfeed a child with animal feed when the natural milk is there. There is no alternative to exclusive breastfeeding.
“But our mothers in the state are shunning exclusive breastfeeding. Some said the water or milk content is not enough for the baby, which is not true because the water and milk nutrients is enough.
“Most mothers don’t know the importance of exclusive breastfeeding. Issues of working-class mothers make them resort to haphazard breastfeeding.
“Mothers in the state introduce herbs, cereals even for child under 2 months, while these Young’s mother see their breast as meant for fashion and so think breastfeeding will make it flabby.
“The breast is meant for babies, though the fathers sometimes too, but that should be prioritised. Also, the fathers sometimes discourage their wives from reaching the two years mark.”
Ajakaiye called for regular lactation breaks during working hours to accommodate breastfeeding, and a supportive breastfeeding environment including adequate facilities that will enable mothers to continue exclusive breastfeeding for six months, followed by age-appropriate complementary breastfeeding
She, however, said the State Ministry of Health is scaling up advocacy on the need for mothers to engage in exclusive breastfeeding and reach the appropriate time before waning their babies.