THE United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has called on mothers to breast feed their babies for healthy growth.
Mrs Philomena Irene, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, made the appeal in her presentation at a two-day media roundtable on breastfeeding in Kano on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the dialogue was organised by the Jigawa Primary Health Care Development Agency in collaboration with UNICEF to promote breastfeeding.
She explained that breast milk contained nutrients which can assist the child to grow healthy as well as prevent him from the risk of childhood diseases.
“The first milk that comes from the breast is called colostrums, it gives baby immunity against many infections,” she said.
Irene said breastfeeding saves lives and improves health and child development while serving as a natural method of child spacing because is unlikely for most nursing mothers to conceive while breastfeeding.
The nutrition specialist further underscored the economic value of breast milk, saying it is the cheapest, affordable, available and acceptable baby food.
According to her, the cheapest infant formula could amount to N280, 000 to N540,000 or even more within the baby’s first six months, which is expensive when compared to breastfeeding.
She said the formula feeding results to increase in health claims because it is not natural and as such it could get contaminated and harmful to the baby.
NAN also reports that 30 journalists were drawn from Bauchi, Gombe and Jigawa states for the roundtable.
The theme for this year’s World Breast Feeding Day is “Breastfeeding: Foundation for life”.