The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, has urged employers of labour to create more liberal working conditions for pregnant women and nursing mothers that will allow them undertake proper breastfeeding of their babies.
She said by doing so, employers of labour would be contributing to the development of the society, noting that the way babies were raised determined the kind of adults in the society.
The governor’s wife, who described breastfeeding as a moral obligation of mothers to their babies, condemned the trend among some young mothers, who hide under “the so-called social exposure”, to shy away from breastfeeding their babies.
Ambode spoke on Monday at the 15th Babies and Mothers Expo organised by a group, Afribaby, in commemoration of the 2016 World Breastfeeding Week.
The event, which held at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, was tagged, ‘Breastfeeding: A Key to Sustainable Development’.
Amode, who was represented at the event by Dr. Ibironke Shodeinde, said, “This theme is clearly telling us that a healthy citizen is always important in the development of the society. How infants are nursed and raised will go a long way to determine whether they will grow into healthy adults. A society that embraces exclusive breastfeeding stands closer to producing healthy babies and this would result in needed development.”
She added, “Raising strong, agile infants is certainly the forerunner of healthy population. We therefore appeal to employers of labour to consider more liberal working conditions for nursing mothers. The Lagos State Government has shown leadership in this regard by extending maternity leave for the first and second time mothers to six months. It has even allowed a period of paternity leave for nursing fathers. I enjoin all nursing mothers to embrace and not compromise exclusive breastfeeding, it is the sure way to sustainable development.”
Ambode listed benefits of exclusive breastfeeding to include good health and vitality of the baby, strong bones, beauty and general attractiveness among others.
The Executive Director of Afribaby, Mrs. Olayinka Odiboh, said the event was part of the organisation’s efforts to encourage the culture of exclusive breastfeeding among Nigerian mothers.
Odiboh said apart from preventing unnecessary spending on medical bills for babies, breastfeeding created a bond between mothers and their babies that would ensure they grew up to be good members of the society.
Odiboh said, “We are saying that exclusive breastfeeding is key to a baby’s development. We are making a case for exclusive breastfeeding of babies. We have seen that breastfeeding guarantees infant vibrancy. We don’t want our babies to continue to die and we are saying instead of giving artificial milk and having reasons to go to the hospital, just sit down and give what God has given you to your baby. So, we are encouraging our mothers. We know it takes a lot to do it, because when we say exclusive breastfeeding, that means you give your baby breast milk on demand, no other thing. It is a lot of work and that’s why we encourage our fathers to support because women cannot do it alone.”
The Iyalode of Lagos State, Mrs. Bintu-Fatima Tinubu, who is also the Chairman, Board of Trustees of Afribaby, urged nursing mothers to take full advantage of the extended maternity leave provided by the Lagos State Government to breastfeed their babies.
The high point of the event was a breastfeeding competition among mothers, after which a baby, Afiyat Adewumi, was crowned the 2016 Afribaby, The Punch reports.