Monday 2 November 2015

Exclusive breastfeeding

So much misinformation (maybe under-information is a better word) exists about exclusive breastfeeding. I took a survey recently of nursing mums' opinion on exclusive breastfeeding and it was horrid to say the least. One mum replied in Igbo " Tufiakwa! I choro si nwa'm gbakpo?" literally translated to mean " God forbid! do you want my child to dry of thirst?". Another asked me why I'd not give a baby water as if I can survive without water. In her opinion it was sheer wickedness. More mums were of the opinion that the breastmilk isn't enough to satisfy a baby's hunger, many from the upper social and economic class felt it is made for mums who may not be able to afford quality formula or whose babies' will be fighting off lots of infections cos of the environment they live in. Some plainly replied they just couldn't carry on as it was so stressful for them and they abandoned it almost as soon as the started.

Every mum wants the best for her child, even when she isn't sure what the best is. Breastmilk is the best food for the baby; research has proven that time and again. The World Health Organisation and many informed doctors and nurses recommend giving a baby breast milk alone for the first six months of life. It has numerous benefit both nutritional and non-nutritional. It provides all the baby needs for the first six months of life. Breastfeeding gives a child a high level of protection against infections through different passive immunity mechanisms, it helps prepare the child's body systems for the introduction of more heavier types of meals. Your baby will not dry out nor die of thirst if exclusively breastfed cos the breast contains about 90%water. Some research works also suggest exclusive breastfeeding reduces the mum's risk of breast cancer. Infant formulas are actually made to 'be like' breast milk. Why get the prototype when you have the original at your disposal?. Breastmilk has a kind of demand -supply mechanism ; the more a baby demands, the more Breastmilk is supplied. So the question of Breastmilk not being enough doesn't even apply.

The advantages of breastfeeding alone can never be overemphasized. This piece isn't meant to judge mums who do not exclusively breastfeed but to enlighten them the more about its advantages. Ofcourse one doesn't have to undertake a course one can't undergo but we know if mums know what the best is, then they will do their best to give their babies the best.