Mr Samuel Atuahene Antwi, a nutritionist at the Tema Metropolitan (TMA)Health Directorate, has tasked nurses and midwives serving as frontline nutrition coaches for breastfeeding mothers to encourage total breastfeeding for a child’s survival.
He said that to protect the baby from certain short- and long-term illnesses and disorders like asthma, obesity, and Type 1 Diabetes, it was necessary for nurses to counsel breastfeeding mothers to adhere to the tenets of breastfeeding.
Mr Atuahene Antwi who gave the advice during an interaction with nurses and some breastfeeding mothers at the TMA Maternity and Child Health Clinic at Tema Community One said breastfeeding is advantageous to both mother and child.
Speaking on the benefits of first-month breastfeeding, the Tema Metro Health Directorate Nutritionist stressed that breastfeeding women also had a lower incidence of ovarian cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and other cancers.
He said it prevents the baby from acquiring infections since it comes directly from the breast, and it also saves mothers money since breast milk is free and available, hence the need to feed the baby with breast milk.
Mr Atuahene Antwi said that, according to research, the ingredients used in the artificial baby foods were not originally designed for human children, making them unsuitable for babies’ digestive systems and triggering a lot of allergic reactions when taken in by babies.
He continued that some mothers insist on adding artificial foods to the baby’s diet because they feel they can afford it, even though babies do not absorb any kind of nutrients from the artificial foods, making the baby miss out on the potential benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.
He also elaborated on the need for mothers to add staple foods, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and animal-source foods to their diets over the course of six months, as they are needed critically for the absorption of vitamins and iron, but they must also continue to breastfeed the babies with these foods.
Nurses must take note of the figures obtained during the growth monitoring and promotion and counsel the mothers on some reasons for such results so that mothers will appreciate their work and make efforts to maintain, start, or continue a good diet and breastfeeding of the baby.