By Frankie Ifop, Calabar
The Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong has called for all mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively to help fight childhood diseases.
Dr. Asibong who embarks on a sensitisation drive to mark the World Breastfeeding Week in Cross River State underline the benefits of Exclusive Breastfeeding which include but not limited to protection from deadly diseases such as Pneumonia.
According to Asibong, “Exclusive Breastfeeding for the first six months of life yields tremendous health benefits, providing critical nutrients, protection from deadly diseases such as pneumonia and fostering growth and development for the first few years of a child’s life.”
Sensitising the women in Cross River State, the Commissioner said World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) basically emphasise on the value of breastfeeding for mothers as well as children.
She said, “In Cross River State, we strongly recommend this for mothers, especially first time mothers, to practice exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of delivery.”
She continued, “This means that no other foods or drinks other than possibly vitamin D are typically given. After the introduction of foods at six months of age, recommendations include continued breastfeeding until one to two years of age or more.”
Speaking further, Dr. Inyang Asibong said, “Globally, only 40 per cent of children under six months of age are exclusively breastfed, and improving on this figure could save the lives of 823,000 children under age five every year.”
As part of this year’s celebration, the Cross River State Government is organising a counseling and enlightenment campaign facilities across the State on it’s enormous benefits as it helps young children grow, prevent undernutrition, promote brain development, and reduce the risk of overweight in adulthood.
Breastfeeding, also known as nursing, is the feeding of babies and young children with milk from a woman’s breast. It is recommended that breastfeeding should begin within the first hour of a baby’s life and continue as often and as much as the baby wants.
World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is an annual celebration which is being held every year from 1 to 7 August in more than 120 countries.
The theme of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is “Breastfeeding: Foundation for Life” – a recognition of the importance of breastfeeding to a baby’s future.