Reject any substitute for breast milk, expert urges mothers
Dr Mala Abdulwahab, the Borno Programme Manager of State Emergency and Child Intervention Centre (SEMCHIC), has urged mothers not to believe any claim that there is substitute for breast milk.
Abdulwahab made the call in Maiduguri on Friday during a roundtable with news men on exclusive breastfeeding, organised by an International Organisation, FHI360 in collaboration with National Agency For Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Borno State Primary Healthcare Development Agency.
Abdulwahab said the call became necessary because of some misconceptions that there were substitute for breast milk and richer.
Abdulwahab said infants were expected to be breastfed within 30 minutes or one hour after birth which should be sustained for six months before adding any supplements approved by NAFDAC in feeding the child.
“We are advocating that immediately after birth, a child should be given the first breast milk which is yellowish in colour.
“We call it cholesterol; it is the first vaccine every child needs,” Abdulwahab said.
He said that the roundtable with the media was to seek for more collaboration to encourage exclusive breast feeding in line with Improved Maternal, Infact and Youth Child Nutrition (MIYCN).
The State Coordinator of FHI Solutions, a subsidiary of FHI360, Dr Bashaar Abdul-Baki said the FHI Solution Alive and Thrive Project were Initiatives to save lives.
He said the initiative was also to prevent illness, and ensure healthy growth and development through improved breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices.
Abdul-Baki observed that good nutrition in the first 1,000 days from conception to two years of age remained critical to children’s health and productive lives.
He said that the project to be implemented was expected to scale MIYCN in Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Bauchi, Yobe and Lagos states.
The Chief Regulatory Officer of NAFDAC in Borno, Mr Ushadari Kayam, noted that breast feeding remained the most cost effective and impactful interventions for reducing malnutrition and under-five mortality.
He said breastfeeding protected children from infectious and chronic diseases.
“It increases cognitive development and lowers health care costs for families and societies,” Kayam said.
He observed that other roles expected of the media in promoting breast feeding was to know the laws and regulations on marketing breast milk substitutes in Nigeria and to reject any advertisement promoting breast milk substitute products.