By Lillian D. Walter
Madam Ernestina Ziem, a nutritionist at the Tamale Teaching Hospital Pediatric unit has encouraged women, especially mothers, to practice exclusive breastfeeding.
Speaking to Zaa News, Madam Ziem stated that exclusive breastfeeding is very essential for the health and growth of both the baby and the mother in as it protects the baby from illnesses, from developing allergies, boost the child's intelligence, protect the child from obesity and help to prevent stunting. It also reduces the stress level of the mother and may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
According to her, infants should be breastfed in their first six months of life. Mrs Ziem stressed that, with the exception of medication, infants should be given only breast milk from birth at least 30 minutes to 1 hour after birth till they are six months old.
Recent research has shown the effectiveness of breast feeding to both the mother and the baby. Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.
Colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy, is recommended as the perfect food for the newborn, and feeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth.
Exclusive breast feeding is recommended up to six months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.
The breast Milk alone she noted contains all the necessary nutrients such as protein, fat, carbohydrate, enough vitamins, iron, and water which is enough for the growth and development of the baby hence the need for the exclusive breast feeding.