Sick mothers can do exclusive breastfeeding ― Nutritionist

MRS Olufunmilola Adewumi, the Principal Nutritionist at the Amuwo Odofin Maternal and Child Centre, says sick mothers can also do exclusive breastfeeding successfully.

Adewumi gave the assurance in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.

“The choice to breastfeed is a thing of the mind that needs to be settled before delivery; it is psychological.

“A woman finds breastfeeding to be a difficult task when she hasn’t prepared her mind for it,’’ she said.

She said that mothers with certain ailments could succeed with exclusive breastfeeding if they could follow medical instructions properly.

“There is no mother who cannot practise exclusive breastfeeding, except she is extremely sick.

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“For people living with HIV, we advise that they take time to know their CD4 count (a measurement of the strength of the immune system); another factor is if the mother is adhering to the usage of her antiretroviral drugs.

“If the CD4 count is okay and she is following the doctor’s instructions, she can still do exclusive breastfeeding before transcending to complementary feeding.

“For hepatitis patients, we advise them to get vaccinated to prevent transmitting it to their babies,” she said.

According to the nutritionist, exclusive breastfeeding builds a child’s immunity and guarantees his or her good health for at least one year, depending on nutrition and the mother’s hygiene.

She advised that pregnant women should feed well ahead of delivery in order to breastfeed well.

“If you have inverted nipples; you prepare by pulling it out, either by the help of nurses or by your husband.

“Ensure that the breast ducts are in good condition, avoid cracks by not using methylated spirit on them; if possible, after delivery, you can give them a soft massage.

“A woman must rest after delivery, take lots of fruits and combine her foods properly,” she said.

Adewumi further said that a mother would need to position her baby properly and ensure that the baby latches on well to the nipple for breastfeeding to be successful.

She cautioned mothers who opt for infant formulas against reconstituting it without following instructions.

She said that failure to follow instructions would put the child at the risk of complications.

NAN reports that World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated annually from Aug.1 to Aug.7 to encourage breastfeeding and improve babies’ health.

The 2019 edition had the theme, “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding’’.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is working with UNICEF and other partners to promote family-friendly policies to encourage breastfeeding.

The policies include paid maternity leave for a minimum of 18 weeks and paid paternity leave to encourage shared responsibility of caring for children.

According to WHO, breastfeeding decreases the risk of mothers developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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