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Nursing mothers are being urged to exclusively breastfeed to boost their child's health.

A Clarion Call to Make Breastfeeding and Work, Work!

By Tukur Hafsat Sani

The art or science of breastfeeding can be projected to be as old as child birth phenomenon itself. Though some historians have hypothesised that this important act became a wide practice about 2.6 million years ago.

Inappropriate marketing of breast-milk substitutes, stigmatisation, body image crisis, public shaming among others have continue to undermine efforts of medical experts and world organisation in improving breastfeeding rates and duration worldwide. With the world evolving, this is gradually changing.

In view of the importance of breastfeeding, over 30 years ago and even more precisely on February 14th, 1991, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) came up with the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), of course in partnership with World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), government agencies and other non-governmental organisations across the globe.

The event was innovated aiming to establish global breastfeeding culture and provide support for breastfeeding mothers or even surrogates everywhere while promoting exclusive breastfeeding for a minimum of six months.

Therefore, World breastfeeding week is an annual tradition celebrated from first and ends on the seventh of August worldwide, each year with peculiar theme or slogan. Interestingly today, more than 100 countries globally participate in this important event.

On themes for example, WABA for the year 2020 chose “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet’’ as its theme. The focus of WBW 2020 was aligned with thematic area 3 in WBW-SDG 2030 and is on the impact of infant feeding on the environment or climate change and the imperative to protect, promote and support breastfeeding for the health of the planet and its people owing to the fact that breastmilk is environmentally safe; produced and delivered without pollution.

In 2021 it was “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility”, which was in respect to survival, health and wellbeing of women, children and nations as well as how nursing mothers can be supported. For last year, it was “Step up for Breastfeeding – Educate and Support”. The WABA for this year set a theme – “Enabling breastfeeding: making a difference for working parents.”

Read Also: Exclusive Breastfeeding, Form Of Family Planning, – Anambra Coordinator

Breastfeeding is the process of feeding a mother’s breast milk to her infant -new born baby because, apart from bond of love that is built between a mother and her child through the process, breast milk is most important and essential food an infant should receive due to colostrum it contains and this colostrum possess antibodies and other immunological benefits that can give babies a healthy boost.

Universally, breasfeeding is of two types, the exclusive breastfeeding and partial breastfeeding which only a few in our society are able to differentiate and know the significance.

Exclusive breastfeeding implies availing a child only breast milk without any solid food for the first eighteen weeks of his or her life while for partial breastfeeding, an infant receives both breast milk and solid or semi-solid food. Noteworthy of the fact that exclusive breastfeeding is highly recommended by health professionals both for the benefit of mother and child.

Since is singular act of breastfeeding help mothers according to studies, reduce conditions such as depression and breast cancer while simultaneously breeding a children who are physically, biologically and mentally alert, it becomes imperative to help drive the 2023 campaign of “Let’s make breastfeeding and work, work!” – a campaign which focuses on promoting practices that can help support workplace-related breastfeeding in different countries.

Hence, employers of labour should support working class mothers in different countries across different contract types and sectors, and promote action that can be taken to help ensure breastfeeding works for all working class women.

This can be achieved through sensitisation, supporting rather stigmatisation of this prime natural process, and providing secluded areas where working mothers can feed their babies without eyes preying on them needlessly while at work.

While mothers across the globe are encouraged to keep up the good work of breastfeeding in other to build a healthier and smarter global population, providing them access to breastfeed their babies while at work would mean that we are making breastfeeding and work, work!

God Bless All Mothers Across the World.

Hafsat a 200-level Student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State writes via [email protected]