The Federal Government has said statistics available to them reveals that about 20,000 women of child bearing age loose their life yearly as a result of poor breastfeeding.
Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire while speaking at a media conference in Abuja to mark the 2020 Breastfeeding week advised that mothers should ensure they begin breastfeeding of their child within the hour the child is born.
He also urged mothers to engage in exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of the baby’s life as well as continuous breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond.
He said, “The government is baffled by the consistent death of women as a result of breastfeeding, the number is quite appalling, even as the act is no doubt considered pivotal to the mother and children.
“To the children, it can save them from variety of infections and diseases”.
“Another benefit of exclusive breastfeeding is that it can reduce excessive fat and overweight in them, as study has shown recently that obesity rates decline greatly in breastfed babies.
” The World Health Organization, WHO, reports on breastfeeding, shows that the practise could prevent an estimated 823, 000 deaths in a year.
“Breastfeeding also has benefits to mothers, as it is a precautionary step to stopping postpartum bleeding in women and also reducesome the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
“20,000 yearly maternal deaths can be avoided, if only mothers can practise optimal breastfeeding”, he added.
The theme for the 2020 world breastfeeding week is “Support Breastfeeding for a healthier planet”.