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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Is Lying Down To Breastfeed Dangerous?

Can lying down to breastfeed your baby really be dangerous? Yes, in some cases. There are times when mothers have to breastfeed their baby lying down, like when baby wakes up in the middle of the night to feed or when you are too tired to sit up, hold him and breastfeed him. Since babies often wake up in the middle of the night to feed, so the mother finds a safe and easy position to breastfeed her baby i.e lying down to breastfeed.

”My two kids who are now 3 years old and 5 respectively were breastfed while lying on my side countless times when they want to feed and I’m too tired to sit up and nurse them and nothing ever happened to the two of them. I don’t see breastfeeding lying down as a problem”

However, breastfeeding baby to sleep can be dangerous in two cases;

1. Falling asleep while breastfeeding baby

The danger in breastfeeding baby while lying down is if the mother should fall asleep, she can squash her baby to death.  If this happens, the death is often classified as SIDS but it is in fact suffocation, and no mother can feel good knowing she caused the death of her baby.

If a mother accidentally falls asleep while breastfeeding her baby, her breast might cover the nose of her baby while she’s asleep, cutting off the air supply to the baby’s airways, such mother might wake up to a lifeless blue baby and it will be her fault, this guilt is just too much to risk such.

Only mothers who gave birth through C-section are advised to breastfeed while lying down and they should not be tired enough to sleep off. Nursing while lying on your side can cause your baby to choke to death.

2. Ear infection

Nursing your baby while lying on your side can give your baby ear infection. When breastfeeding your baby, it’s easy for the breast milk to swim into one of his ears, when this happens, the fluid builds up in the middle of the ear creating a warm, moist environment where germs love to grow and tada! Bacteria and viruses will invade and thrive in your child’s ear causing them to become cranky, pained and have fever, all of which are symptoms of an ear infection.

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