The Paediatric Association of Nigeria congratulates all mothers, within and outside the shores of Nigeria, on their phenomenal achievements of raising vibrant children, multitudes of whom are productive and high-achieving adults in our societies. These you have done by many powerful deeds including the provision of adequate nutrition, especially the provision of breast milk at very crucial and critical stages of our lives, in the first six months when our rapidly developing and growing brains needed vital nutrients.
We would continue to remind all mothers and mothers-to-be that breast milk is indisputably the best, most adequately compounded, and most balanced food for human consumption, especially in the first six months of life, and into the first 2-3 years of age. The brains and bodies of rapidly growing babies need vital nutrients that are best supplied by breast milk. Studies have shown, for instance, that the “little” amount of iron in human breast milk is best suited for the human baby during early infancy. It is in the right amount to promote brain development, allow normal physical growth, and maintain the blood levels in the first six months of life. Breastfeeding prevents hunger, undernutrition, and obesity. It also helps in alleviating poverty.
We, therefore, urge you to give top priority to breastfeeding your babies exclusively with your breast milk in the first six months of life. This can be done directly or using expressed breast milk given with cup and spoon. Babies should be fed frequently and on demand. Not only does this allow optimal growth and development, the act, and art, of breastfeeding creates special bonding between mother and child that lasts lifetimes. Breast milk provides protection against conditions like diarrhoea and respiratory infections in our babies. It promotes recovery of mothers from the effects of birth, including the proper involution of the womb and reduces the risk of certain cancers. It also enhances the confidence of our mothers.
We salute all supporters of breastfeeding, the fathers, the employers of labour, media, the federal, state, and local governments, for all you have done to protect, promote, and sustain breastfeeding over the years. The promotion of breastfeeding is a game changer. Not only would breastfeeding improve our under-five morbidity and mortality indices, but it would also boost our economy, improve food security for our infants and reduce inequalities within and between our countries.
Together, let us step up for breastfeeding.
HAPPY BREASTFEEDING WEEK!
Paediatric Association of Nigeria