A Lactation Expert, Chinny Obinwanne has disclosed that breastfeeding reduces risk of many illnesses and equally, milk provides the perfect nutrition that contains everything needed for good health in life of a baby particularly for the first six months.
Penpushing reports that Obinwanne made this known at the ceremony to mark World Breastfeeding Week, which is celebrated in the first week of August to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding and its benefits.
The founder of Milk Booster and Milk Bank Nigeria, emphaised that breast milk provides the perfect nutrition that contains everything a baby needs, stressing that it is also essential for the overall health and wellness of both baby and mother.
Penpushing further reports that she explained that it reduces risk of diseases in a newborn, from respiratory issues like pneumonia to gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhoea, including lowering the risk of allergy, eczema, asthma, and atopic dermatitis.
The lactation expert pointed out that getting breast milk provides a lot of immediate and long-term benefits that follow the baby as they grow to become toddlers, teenagers, and a grown adult, stressing that for a newborn, the first milk known as colostrum is loaded with antibodies.
“For a newborn, the first milk (colostrum), which is loaded with antibodies, coats the lining of the gut preventing the passage of bacteria and viruses into the baby’s body system’, the milk booster founder stated.
Penpushing also reports that Obinwanne noted that breastfeeding helps a mother lose weight as it takes a considerable amount of calories to manufacture breast milk, and took time to explain that the more breast milk a mother’s body produces, the more calories it will consume from her body fat storage to make it.
The milk booster founder stated that as long as the mother is eating the right nutrient-dense meals, she will notice weight loss, adding that in situations where nursing mothers are not able to produce enough milk for their babies, they can use pasteurised donor human milk.
Penpushing reports that she stated that this is better than supplementing breast milk with formula, while on the challenges of running a milk bank in Nigeria, she noted that lack of funding plays a huge role.
“Without any external funding, the milk booster has been funding the cost implication of running the milk bank from paying the staff, blood screening of each donor mum; the numerous pre-pasteurisation and post-pasteurisation milk screening and running the facility. It’s been a lot,” she said.
“I remember the number of times we had a post-pasteurisation milk sample test come back and not clear, we kept going back and forth with the team in South Africa that helped us so much to get past that hurdle.”
Penpushing further reports that she observed that lack of awareness is a significant challenge that must be addressed, stating that the organization had gotten 20 recipient requests for human milk, and after engaging them and do the paper work, the majority of them don’t proceed to the final steps of receiving the milk
The lactation expert advocates continuous desensitisation of the public with online and offline education while encouraging new mums going back to work to start preparing early, from the first two weeks after delivery, on how to breastfeed and store the milk for the baby.
Penpushing also reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in line with the theme of this year’s WBD, “Let’s Make Breastfeeding at Work, Work’, emphasised the need for greater breastfeeding support across all workplaces to sustain and improve progress on breastfeeding rates globally.
The global agencies in a joint statement to commemorate this year World Breastfeeding Week(WBW), said countries as diverse as Cote d’Ivoire, Marshall Islands, the Philippines, Somalia, and Vietnam have achieved significant increases in breastfeeding rates.
Penpushing reports that the two bodies noted that, to reach the global 2030 target of 70 per cent the barriers women and families face in achieving their breastfeeding goals must be addressed,noting that breastfeeding rates drop significantly for women when they return to work but can be reversed when workplaces facilitate mothers to continue to breastfeed their babies.
‘Family-friendly workplace policies – such as paid maternity leave, breastfeeding breaks, and a room where mothers can breastfeed or express milk – create an environment that benefits not only working women and their families but also employers,” the statement read.
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