The wife of the governor of Enugu state, Mrs Monica Ugochi Ugwuanyi, has urged mothers, fathers and wives of the Local Government Chairmen to join her in the renewed call for appropriate breastfeeding of children as one pathway to mitigate environmental degradation that starts with correct breastfeeding.
Mrs Ugwuanyi made the call in her message to commemorate this year’s World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7, 2020), themed: “Supporting breastfeeding for a healthier Planet”.
The Enugu state governor’s wife listed the negative consequences of inadequate breastfeeding on malnourished children, especially when they become adults, to include stunting of growth and likely suffering of chronic diseases.
She added that such health challenges contribute to making populations vulnerable to pandemics such as the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) currently ravaging the world.
Mrs Ugwuanyi, therefore, harped on the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding of children within the first hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for six months and introduction of solid food as complementary feeding and continuous breastfeeding for two years of age or beyond.
She disclosed that breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight viruses and bacteria, lowers their (babies') risk of having asthma or allergies, provides the ideal nutrition for the babies and makes them smarter, adding that babies who are exclusively breastfed for six months without a formula have fewer ear infections, respiratory illness and diarrhoea.
“Breast milk is a natural, renewable food that is environmentally safe and green because it is produced and delivered to the consumer without pollution, packaging or waste. We need to respect nature, by doing the first thing, first! Breast milk is the first food that we consume in life and it is a critical part of a sustainable food system”, she emphasized.
While calling for renewed collaboration with relevant stakeholders towards the actualization of appropriate breastfeeding of children, Mrs Ugwuanyi pointed out that a warm chain of support from us all will create an enabling environment that empowers all mothers to breastfeed optimally for a healthier planet, saying: “I pledge to bridge the gap for the survival of our children”.
Watch full video of her speech HERE.