Highlights From The 2019 World Breastfeeding Week Workshop

The World Breastfeeding Week Workshop was held on the 8th of August 2019 at the American Corner, Co-Creation Hub, Lagos.

The focus of the workshop was to educate attendees about the importance of this year’s theme, get feedback from fathers present, learn about how the US encourages and supports breastfeeding through policies and flexible working environments as well as present a summary of the week’s activities.

There were a total of 62 people in attendance – 10 men, 52 women and several children. Some of the program enrollees from the Yaba (Lagos-Mainland) program site were also present at the event.

The event started with a video presentation of the benefits of breastfeeding and the importance of the World Breastfeeding Week event.

Anike Lawal, the Program Director of Mamalette Community Foundation, in her welcome speech, emphasized the importance of breastfeeding seeing that Nigeria still ranks low at 17% in the scorecard of countries that practice exclusive breastfeeding.

She showcased the entire World Breastfeeding Week Activities and spoke about the impact the series of activities had made.

Jennifer Foltz, the Deputy Public Affairs Officer at the United States (US) Consulate in Lagos then followed up with her opening remarks. She expressed appreciation for Mamalette’s effort at impacting the maternal and infant health space in Lagos and in Nigeria.

Dr. Kearline Jones, the Vice President, Government Relations & Compliance at Health Partners Plans and Dr. Tierra Pritchett, Manager, Legislative Affairs Policy and Research of Health Partners Plans presented on the maternal and child care policy in the workplace and how it helps supports breastfeeding using the United States as a case study.

Some of the Mamalette champions presented also shared how they had been promoting exclusive breastfeeding to new mothers in their communities. Several of the champions also mentioned that the Mamalette Home Visiting program had helped a lot of women in their communities.

They emphasised their exemplary lifestyle of practicing what they preach e.g. exclusively breastfeeding their own infants had made it easy for them to convince the women in their community to also adapt exclusive breastfeeding for their own infants.
Afterwards, there was an insightful discussion/panel with two of the fathers present.

Mr Rotimi Akinwande, a male breastfeeding champion and Dr. Chinedu Anumni, a husband of one of the Mamalette health champions, spoke on how men can support their wives to breastfeed. They also gave practical tips based on their personal experience.

Representatives from the Aliko Dangote Foundation and Dr Tierra Prichett and Dr Kearline Jones from Health Partners Plans then presented gifts to the male breastfeeding champion present.

The event ended with pictures, refreshments and networking.

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What To Do When You Are Not Ready To Wean

For the first few weeks of birth, when I had my daughter I struggled with breastfeeding, first, my nipples were inverted so my baby could not latch on to it.

Then when I overcame that, I  struggled with lactation, so many times I would put her to breast and it would feel as if there was no milk coming out anymore, then as result of poor latching, I had sores on the nipple which made breastfeeding painful for me. If anyone had told me I would breastfeed my daughter till she was over a year old, I would call such a person a liar.

Fast forward to two months after birth, breastfeeding gradually became a second nature. To the point that I unconsciously associated carrying my baby in my arms with breastfeeding. She too became so used to breastfeeding that whenever I carried her she would reach for the breast. For me, it was an enriching time because I bonded well with my daughter.

Not everyone is eager to wean his or her babies off the breast, so if you are in this category read on. When you continue to breastfeed, it offers you the opportunity to nourish and nurture your baby and perhaps you have returned to work, breastfeeding enables you to reconnect with your baby.

Here are the things you need to think about when you are not ready to wean your baby.

1.The timing of weaning is personal. Don’t let anyone pressure you, the choice of when to wean your baby is yours to decide which is determined by what works best depending on your family dynamics. If you are okay with it, then continue breastfeeding.

2. Continued breastfeeding improves health outcomes and when you continue to breastfeed, your baby’s health gets better as the day goes by. So, babies who are breastfed longer are healthier than those who are breastfed for a short time.

3. Note your reason for wanting to continue breastfeeding and keep at it. Many women feel somewhat when their babies are over a year and they are still breastfeeding them. It is quite saddening that the people mounting this pressure are fellow women who should know better. They call the baby of about a year plus ‘old woman’, ‘old man’ and then ‘remain the breast milk for the others oo’ indirectly shaming the mother for breastfeeding.

4. It has been proven that the length of time a mother breastfeeds is socially driven not health driven. The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding until your baby is two years old. If you really want to keep breastfeeding stick to your plan and wait it out till when you feel it is right for you and your baby to stop.


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