Prof. Tola Atinwo from the University of Ibadan has called for a baby friendly working environment which would optimally support women to adopt exclusive breastfeeding.
Atinwo made the call while speaking at the lecture to mark the annual breastfeeding week of the National Association of Women Journalists, Lagos State chapter with the theme: “Empower Parents, Enabling Breastfeeding.”
Atinwo disclosed that neo-natal mortality rate in Nigeria would reduce if women can adhere strictly to the provisions by World Health Organization and UNICEF. He explained that the provision requires women to “exclusively breastfeed their babies for six months without water and herbs and contionuos breastfeeding up to two years and beyond.”
Prof. Atinwo said, “in Nigeria, we give birth to about 7 Million children every year and many of them do not live up to age of 5. 800,000 children die every year in Nigeria and many others are subjected to deprivation.”
He encouraged women to breastfeed their babies and also introduce them to breastmilk within an hour after birth adding that it would help to boost immunity, reduce infant mortality and lower the risks of breast and ovarian cancer in mothers.
Dr. Bunni Ogundimu, who spoke on Breastfeeding and the Career Woman; Challenges and Way Out, said women understands the benefit of exclusive breastfeeding but are constrained because of the unfriendly policies in work spaces.
Ogundimu commended the Lagos State Government for the provision which allow lactating mothers to observe six months leave for their first two children, and implore the private sector to follow suit.
Formed NAWOJ President, Mrs Toro Oladapo was excited about the success of the event and commended the new executives of Lagos NAWOJ which was inaugurated recently for the efforts to bring NAWOJ to the limelight.
She urged members of the association to stay committed and support the executives in all activities and programmes of the association.
While speaking, Chairperson, Lagos NAWOJ, Adeola Ekine appreciated members present at the event for their support since the inauguration of the new executive members.
Speaking about the breastfeeding week, Ekine said that the six month exclusive breastfeeding is essential for the comprehensive development and growth of every child adding that it aids bonding and love between mother and child.