NaNA intensifies breast feeding campaign
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
As celebrations marking World Breastfeeding Day continues, the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA), on Tuesday, visited the Jammeh Foundation for Peace Hospital (JFPH), as part of their week-long awareness campaign on the importance of breast feeding.
During the visit, Saihou Ceesay, adminstrator of the JFPH, acknowledged that the breastfeeding week is worth celebrating and an achievement for anybody who is taking part in the campaign. He cited the importance of practicing exclusive breastfeeding by lactating mothers. Ceesay however disclosed that the 41% rate of exclusive breastfeeding, nationally, is not impressive, looking at the amount of time and resources being spent in promoting the practice of exclusive breastfeeding. According to him, the theme for this year's celebration is important for the fact that there are a lot of emergency situations happening in the world today. He noted that such situations leave mothers with no other choice in terms of feeding their babies, but resorting to breast milk; meaning that in the absence of any other food, breast milk is the primary food for babies and infants.
He used the occasion to call on all mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding, noting that the idea of breastfeeding should be institutionalised and working mothers should be given the opportunity to practice exclusive breastfeeding. "I hope that exclusive breastfeeding would one day be a child right issue," he remarked. For his part, Malang Janneh, NaNA's Nutrition Field officer at Western Region, remarked that the cause of insufficient milk can be many, but that it is only in rare cases that a mother is unable to produce sufficient milk to breastfeed exclusively for six months. "From experience, we have observed that almost all complaints of not having enough milk are due to problems in the way babies or infants are put to the breast; this is, either poor positioning or poor attachment to the breast.
We also have to know that the supply of milk is largerly regulated by demand; the more our infants have been put to breast, the more milk the mother will have. The common reasons for insufficent milk are, waiting too long between feeds, poor attachment of the infant - having only the nipple in his/her mouth rather than the nipple and the areola - and giving food other than breast milk before the infant is six months of age," he highlighted. He also used the occasion to remind parents that giving infants (under six months of age) supplementary food would only worsen the situation. He said some mothers may be helped by warming cloths and pressing against the breast before and during feeding, or by even massaging the breast before or after feeding.
According to Janneh, mothers should try to eat a variety of food to keep them healthy; "because if she does, she should be able to produce an adequate amount of milk, if she breastfeeds frequently; since it is only in case of extreme malnutrition that a mother's ability to produce milk is compromised". The occasion was marked by a question and answer session, and those who got the answers right regarding the necessity of breastfeeding, were given handsome prizes.
Author: by Aji Fatou Faal