August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Well-nourished generations

Eregie noted that optimal breastfeeding - 0-6months (baby friendly) and continued breastfeeding, up to eighteen months, (2yrs), helped females keep their hormones in check, allowing for a natural birth control process, as females only get pregnant after they wean (stop breastfeeding) their child which aid maternal longevity and health.

However, there are several other barriers to breastfeeding children including ignorance of benefits of breastfeeding, improper advice from friends and family leading to supplement breast milk with formula, lack of support for working mothers from employers in providing environment conducive for breastfeeding, and lack of trained health workers who can guide new mothers about the right techniques of breastfeeding.

This year's World Breastfeeding Week should help us to recommit to doing more to help every child, everywhere, realize the lifesaving benefits of breastfeeding, no matter where they live. Other challenges can arise around a woman's milk supply or an infant's ability to latch on to the breast.

"For infants to survive, grow and develop as they should, they need to be breastfed". Breastfeeding is a low-priced way that provides a foundation for good health in both babies and mothers. Breast milk is made of fats, sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and enzymes and is created to promote brain and body growth. "Colostrum is said to be high in antibodies and reduces the risk of death from hypothermia, helps in epithelial recovery and protects children from infectious diseases".

Another obstacle mothers face is discomfort during nursing. Very low exclusive breastfeeding rate has persisted among mothers in Nigeria with the National rate at 25% in 2014 (National Nutrition and Health Survey, 2014). Breast milk continues to provide essential nutrients for childhood development up to two years.

· Even at night the baby should be breastfed. Now is also an opportune time to reverse the rising trends in bottle-feeding that are putting millions of dollars into the pockets of companies that speak laurels of their infant formulas as adequate replacements for breast milk.

We also need to realise that bottle feeding has become so normalised that many women seeking to breastfeed are missing out.

In celebration and recognition of National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week, Opelousas General Health System is offering a free Community Baby Shower for all new & expectant parents and grandparents, as well as business owners, church and community organization leaders on Thursday, August 9th from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.in the 3rd floor OGHS Auditorium.

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