From Princely Onyenwe, Abuja
At the year 2022 International Breastfeeding week held in Owerri, the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, Imo state chapter re-emphasized on the importance of breastfeeding to the physical, mental and emotional health of women and their children.
Nursing mothers and their babies from across the city participated in the event which was held on Friday, 5th August, held at the Owerri Municipal council, headquarter, where the women were given lectures on the benefits of breastfeeding to them and their children, and to the society at large.
Speaking at the occasion, the Imo NAWOJ chairman, Dr. Dorathy Nnaji, pointed out that the celebration was aimed at creating awareness and sensitisation of breastfeeding and ensure that babies well-being is preserved.
The Imo NAWOJ Boss, noted that the event is annually commemorated every first week of August , from the 1st to 7th, as directed by the World Health Organization in the year 1992 and has since then been observed in many countries all over the world.
Dr. Mrs Nnaji advised mothers to ensure that they breastfeed their babies because of the many mutual benefits both mother and child can get from breastfeeding, which include being economical, helps in emotional bonding, enhances brain development, strengthens immunity, and natural intelligence of the child.
“Breast milk is something you can not find in the market, it is nature’s gift, very healthy, nutritious, and free.
Both the baby and the mother stand to benefit from breastfeeding, because it helps the womb to contract and return to its original shape in the course of breastfeeding, helps to reduce the risk of breast or uterine cancer , among other benefits.” She submitted.
One of the Resource Persons, Assistant Chief Nursing Officer Charity Chilaka, who lectured the women on the benefits and importance of breastfeeding to them, their children, husbands and society, opined that the increasing rise in drug addiction and crime among the youths was due to lack of or inadequate breastfeeding by mothers. She asserted that adequate breastfeeding will reduce problem of juvenile deliquents in society.
Mrs Chilaka, advised the mothers to do exclusive breastfeeding of their enfants because of the huge benefits they are bound to reap, such as the colostrum which is the first yellowish liquid that flows from the breast immediately after delivery that the baby sucks, strengthens its immunity and gives protection from diseases like diarrhea, sharpens the child’s intelligence and mental health.
She maintained that exclusive breastfeeding which means feeding a baby with only breast milk for the first 6months of life , was the right of a child.
During the question and answer sessions, she threw more light on issues relating to breastfeeding to the mothers and their babies, family planning, and so on.
A nursing mother who participated in the programme, Mrs Annabel Chilaka, expressed excitement that this was the first time she was participating in such an event, and thanked NAWOJ for organizing it for them.
Highpoint of the programme was the distribution of gifts such as diapers, toys, feeding bottles , to the babies of the mothers who attended the event by Imo NAWOJ chairman.
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