Madam Florence Ankomah, a Nutrition Officer with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) at Twifo Atti-Morkwa District, has urged nursing mothers to cultivate the habit of exclusively breastfeeding their babies for their effective growth and development.
With exclusive breastfeeding, babies undergo feeding solely on breast milk for at least six months from birth, with no solid food or infant formula.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Madam Ankomah said mothers must initiate breast-feeding within 30 minutes after delivery and continue exclusively for six months after which complimentary feeding could be introduced.
“Breast-milk is the best food for babies as it contained all the needed nutrients, therefore mothers should not compromise the health of their babies by feeding them with any other thing unless prescribed by a doctor,” she cautioned.
It contained essential amount of nutrients, which did not only benefit the child, but the mother as well.
According to her, breast feeding could prevent the risk of mothers developing ovarian and breast cancers, adding that it also aided the fast involution of the uterus with decrease in post-partum bleeding.
Also, she said all that was required of a COVID-19 infected mother, was to wear her nose mask, wash her hands with soap under running water and sanitize her hands with alcohol based sanitizer before breast-feeding.
For mothers to produce more milk for their babies, she stressed the need for lactating mothers to allow the babies to suckle more because the more they sucked, the more the hormones produced the milk.
This, she indicated, helped them to strengthen their jaws, stressing that replacing breast feeding with formula food was not the best.
The Nutritionist further discredited the myth that babies fed well from the feeding bottle than the mother’s breast, saying a mother must position the baby well to the breast while sitting comfortably with a backrest when breast feeding.
Madam Ankomah also urged mothers to eat nutritious food to be in good health and in a better position to breast-feed the babies exclusively for six months.
He explained that family food that contained balanced diet could be found in all Ghanaian local dishes and should be introduced to the child alongside breast-feeding.
Emphasising the health risks of poor nutrition, she added that improper feeding mechanisms in early infancy could lead to under-nutrition or over-nutrition in children and this could affect their growth.