The Kpone Health Centre has launched this year’s breastfeeding week celebration with a call on government to protect and promote women’s access to skilled breastfeeding counseling.
The annual week, celebrated in the first week of August was being observed globally on the theme, “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”, while being observed locally on the theme, “Start straight feed right from birth to two years”.
Dr. Esther Priscilla B Danquah, Kpone-Kantamanso Municipal Health Director, launching the celebration, said this year’s celebration was to recognize the threats and opportunities of breastfeeding practices and to maximize potential global communication on the benefits of appropriate breastfeeding.
Dr. Danquah indicated that one effective way of giving children the opportunity to develop optimally was through exclusive breastfeeding, adding that it provided the best nutrition for a start in life.
She called on the public to consciously make the effort to encourage breastfeeding among mothers saying, it was better to breastfeed as apart from its health benefits, it saved the cost of financing ill health resulting from malnutrition.
Madam Kafui Odoom, Nutrition Officer, Kpone Clinic, explained that exclusive breastfeeding meant feeding baby with only breast milk from birth to six months of age, stressing that breast milk was enriched with all the food nutrients and water the infant needed for the first six months of life.
Madam Odoom added that breast milk contained balanced proportions and sufficient quantities of all nutrients needed during the first six months as well as antibodies that protected the child from diseases such as diarrhea and respiratory infections.
She said, exclusive breastfeeding help children to grow stronger and prevents undernutrition and the risk of children becoming overweight.
She noted that “children who are formula-fed have the risk of contracting an infection from a contaminated formula, they are more likely to suffer from asthma, and have reduced cognitive development and educational attainment” adding that “they have a high risk of childhood diseases such as obesity, type one and two diabetes and cardiovascular disease in later life”.
Touching on the benefits of breastfeeding to the nursing mothers, the nutrition officer said, initiating breastfeeding immediately after birth facilitated the expulsion of the placenta as the baby’s sucking stimulates the uterus to contract.
She indicated that breastfeeding also helped in the reduction of bleeding after delivery and reduced the risk of pre-menopausal breast and ovarian cancers.
Exclusive breastfeeding, she added, was more than 98 per cent effective as a natural contraceptive method.
Madam Gifty Akomanyi, Health Promoting Officer at the Kpone-Katamanso Health Directorate encouraged the participant to continue to breastfeed their babies in this Covid-19 era as the breast milk and breastfeeding had not been proven as means through which the virus could be transmitted to children.
She urged the public not to be scared of COVID -19 but rather strictly observe all the safety protocols and breastfeed the children exclusively.
Breast milk contained antibodies that give babies a healthy boost and protected them from infections as the antibodies fought against infections if the body was exposed, she said.