Health  

Physician advocates exclusive breastfeeding

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A Public Health Physician has described exclusive breastfeeding as the foundation of life, noting that despite this, millions of newborn babies still miss out on its benefits yearly.

Making the call at the Breastfeeding Outreach, organised by the Department of Community Health and Primary Health Care, Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) and Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), to mark the 2018 World Breastfeeding Week, a Senior lecturer and Consultant Public Health Physician at LASUCOM, Dr. Modupe Akinyinka, said exclusive breastfeeding for six months has many benefits for infants and mothers.

She said: “Chief among these is protection against gastrointestinal infections, which is observed not only in developing, but also industrialised countries. Early initiation of breastfeeding, within one hour of birth, protects the newborn from acquiring infections and reduces newborn mortality. The risk of mortality due to diarrhoea and other infections can increase in infants, who are either partially breastfed or not breastfed at all.

“Breast-milk is also an important source of energy and nutrients in children aged six to 23 months. It can provide half or more of a child’s energy needs between the ages of six and 12 months, and one-third of energy needs between 12 and 24 months. Breast milk is also a critical source of energy and nutrients during illness, and reduces mortality among children who are malnourished.”

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