Nursing mothers have been tasked to ensure their emotional stability, be free from worries and feed well to enable them produce quality breast milk for their babies.
They have also been advised to exclusively breastfeed their babies from day one to, at least, six months without water as this guarantees better health and other benefits for the child.
This advice was given by the focal person at Primary Healthcare Centre in Henshaw Town, Calabar, Mrs Magdalene Ekpenyong at the weekend on the heels of the ongoing World Breastfeeding Week where hundreds of mothers were sensitized on arrays of benefits from exclusive breastfeeding.
“If nursing mothers allow their emotional problems and other worries becloud them, and if they don’t also eat well, their babies would be affected negatively.
“There’s serious need for nursing mothers to eat well, so that they can produce enough milk for the baby.
“It is strongly advised that they feed the babies on demands, not when they feel like, or when they have time. Breast milk contains all ingredients necessary for the babies to grow healthily. Breastfeeding is very important as it steadily moulds the babies.”
Ekpenyong frowned at some mothers who give water to their babies to drink, insisting that the breast milk contains water.
She called for continued sensitization, saying it will educate the women better and correct stereotypes.
In the event that the mother died upon delivery of the baby, she said, “In this case, the baby can be fed with baby formula. But if its grandmother is available and can produce milk, that will be preferable.”
The focal person did not discourage mothers who eat particular foods or drink palm wine which help to produce more breast milk.
“To those mothers who usually sip, say palm wine to produce milk, I don’t really disagree but they must be very careful so as not to be intoxicated. As a person , when I nursed my babies, I loved eating rice with pepper soup. But the general advice is for nursing mothers to eat well.”
However, some mothers in Calabar have disagreed with the advice that babies be fed exclusively with mothers’ milk.
They argued that babies who are not fed exclusively with mothers’ breast milk are equally healthier and very intelligent.
40 year old Mrs Salomey Akpan, a seamstress, insisted that mothers should not be forced to breastfeed their babies exclusively.
She contended that there could be circumstantial situations where exclusive breastfeeding would be difficult.