Stakeholders Says Breastfeeding is a Complex Behavior that Requires Community Support
By Uangbaoje Alex, Zaria
Participants at the ongoing training for Civil Society Organization (CSOs), in Kaduna, on Communication for Development (C4D), has said exclusive breastfeeding is a complex behavior that requires the support of the entire society.
The stakeholders, during a discussion segment on Wednesday, expressed dismay over the way people of influence around young mothers; that is, mother In-laws and others are treating their daughter in-laws, said it is important that the entire community is abreast with the knowledge of the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.
According to them, women of child birth age need support to initially decide to breastfeed their babies, learn the correct techniques, persevere when difficulties arise and also be supported to counter most cultural norms that has deprived them from allowing their babies enjoy the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.
This they agreed is fundamental to the growth, development & health of children, and also important for the health of the mothers, which also contribute to 10% reduction in child mortality.
Exclusive breastfeeding is feeding a baby with only breast milk from birth until the age of six months, without drink water or taking any supplements.
The training which is holding in Zaria, was organized by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and supported by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The objective is to strengthen the capacity of the CSOs on C4D, improve their knowledge on essential family practices and at the end, come up with a C4D workplan for 2020.
Over 40 members of two coalitions of CSOs; Kaduna State Accountability Mechanism (KADMAM) and Maternal and Child Health Civil Society Partnership (MCH-CS), working on health issues in Kaduna, especially as it affect women and children, with Religious and Traditional Rulers are participating in the training.
Earlier in his presentation, Alhaji Lawal Haruna, Deputy Director, NOA Kaduna office, had noted that after the exclusive breastfeeding, an appropriate complementary feeding required a mother to feed her baby from 6 months with 3 meals per day while continuing breastfeeding up to 24 months.
He said starting at six months of age, it is important that mothers feed their children with freshly prepared energy and nutrient rich complementary foods, while continuing to breastfeed up to two years or longer.
Alhaji Lawal, explained that increasing feeding frequency and promotimg active feeding is key to child development, adding that adequate micronutrients through diets are also very important.
“Micronutrients are substances that are found in small amounts in different types of food but are very important for proper functioning of the body and for healthy growth. Because they can only be found in small amounts in food, some major ones are given as supplements in food or as stand-alone supplements to ensure that children don’t suffer from their lack.” He said.