Newborns could die if not breastfed 2 to 23 hours after birth – Expert

Omolayo Alabi


A Nutrition Advocacy Adviser to Save the Children International (SCI), Isah Ibrahim says delaying breastfeeding by two to 23 hours after birth increases the risk of death in the first 28 days of a baby’s life by 40 per cent.

Ibrahim made this known at the opening of a town hall meeting at Daddau, Jaba Local Government Area of Kaduna State on exclusive breastfeeding.

The meeting was organised by SCI to encourage local communities adopt best breastfeeding and nutritional practices.

He explained that exclusive breastfeeding from first hour of birth up to six months reduces the incident of death in newborn babies.

According to him, newborns account for nearly half of death of children under five, adding that the longer breastfeeding is delayed, the higher the risk of death in the first month of life.

“Breast milk contains all the nutrients and fluid a baby needs for the first six months of life.

“It is the first and best protection a baby has against an array of illnesses and diseases; a critical first vaccine for the baby that helps prevent pneumonia and diarrhoea, two of the leading causes of death for children under five years.

“Not only prevention, breastfeeding helps in developing children brain and make them very intelligent, which in the long run will help not only the family but the community and the country at large,” Ibrahim said.

The Expert explained that the meeting was organised to share experiences with nursing mothers, husbands, community and religious leaders on good breastfeeding and nutritional practices and challenges inhibiting such practices.

He added that the meeting provides an avenue to enlighten caregivers on how best to breastfeed newborn and adequate complementary feeding after six months.

Sharing experiences, some of the women said that the knowledge of the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, to child survival and when to offer complementary feeding to babies was beneficial and enlightening.

Some of the women who exclusively breastfed their children and practiced adequate complementary feeding, also said that they have seen the difference and therefore encourage others to also test and see the benefits.

Others said that they want to practice exclusive breastfeeding, but that their breast do not produce milk till after a week or more after birth.

One of the women, Asabe Jacob, explained that she was forced to give her baby water and milk for the first two weeks before her breast produce milk.

But Mrs Ana Ishaku, a woman leader in the community, explained that the breast do not produce milk because most nursing mothers do not know how to properly breastfeed their babies, which affect milk production.

According to her, mothers must properly put the nipples in the mouth of a baby to stimulate milk production.