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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How to Ensure Your Baby Is Gaining A Healthy Weight After Birth

After the birth of a baby the parent’s concern then shifts to making sure the baby is gaining weight and growing both physically and intellectually like the baby is supposed to. Growth is a good indicator of general health, and babies who are growing well are generally healthy, while poor growth can be a sign of a problem.

Doctors will keep track of weight, length, and head size. According to Kidshealth, a new born baby born at 37 and 40 weeks usually weighs 2.5kg-4kg.The length of the pregnancy is important. Babies born around their due date or later tend to be larger than those born earlier. Other factors that can affect a baby’s weight include:

  • Premature babies generally are smaller and lighter than other newborns. A preemie’s weight will be largely determined by how early he or she was born.
  • Genetics
  • Multiple births,
  • First babies are sometimes smaller than brothers or sisters born later.
  • Girls tend to be smaller, boys larger, but the differences are slight at birth.
  • Mother’s health during pregnancy
  • Nutrition during pregnancy
  • Medical problems and certain infections acquired during the pregnancy, can affect a child’s birth weight and later growth.

Valerie Marchand, is a Pediatric Gastroenterologist and chair of the Canadian Paediatric Society’s Nutrition and Gastroenterology Committee. She was part of a group that recommended the use of new growth charts developed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Growth charts examine length and weight in boys and girls, from birth to thirty-six months.  In the first few days after birth, babies normally lose weight, then get back to their birth weight by about 10 days. Marchand suggests that parents should be aware that a baby’s birth weight depends more on the mother’s diet and health during pregnancy. While slow-gaining babies tend to get the most attention, there are new concerns about babies who gain quickly. “You need to look at height as well as weight,” says Marchand.

Paediatrician and breastfeeding expert Jack Newman said, “the first step is often to improve the way the baby latches on to the breast”. “When the baby is not drinking much, using compression can help,” he adds. To determine how your baby’s measurements compare with those of other babies born after the same length of pregnancy, your paediatrician will refer to a growth chart. Always refer to your baby’s pediatrician and listen to them concerning how to maintain a healthy weight for your baby.

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