Jide Owolana, the Chief Medical Director, Living Standard Hospital, Benin, has advised that exclusive breast feeding during the first stage of a child’s life was important for the baby, adding that it improves the IQ of children.
Owolana, who spoke in an interview with newsmen in Benin on Wednesday, defined exclusive breast feeding as “breastfeeding an infant with only breast milk, without water and with the exception of oral rehydration solution, or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicines”.
“Exclusive breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants and lowers the baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies.
“Babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first six months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. “The milk changes in volume and composition according to the time of day, nursing frequency, and age of baby to promote healthy growth.
“Mothers, who breast feed also have a reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes and certain cancers such as breast cancer. “They may find it easier to return to what they weighed before they got pregnant.
“Breastfeeding burns extra calories, so it can help you lose pregnancy weight faster. “It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth,” he said.
Owolana said the importance of breast feeding for a baby includes: supply of all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportion, protection against allergies, sickness, and obesity.
It also help to protect against diseases, infections and its easily digested – no constipation, diarrhea or upset stomach. He advised mothers with babies to practice exclusive breastfeeding, adding that breastfed babies score higher on IQ tests.