The current hardship in the country has forced many women to exclusively breastfeed their children because they could not afford baby formula.
The former Principal, School of Midwifery Sokoto, Fatima Bello Gummi, made the observation during a one-day engagement with state actors to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week with the theme, ‘Enabling breastfeeding: Making Difference for Working Parents.’
The event was organised by the Sokoto State Primary Healthcare Development Agency with the support of fhi360, A & T and Nutritional Society of Nigeria, Sokoto chapter.
The World Breastfeeding Week is an annual celebration which is held every year from 1 to 7 August in more than 120 countries.
Gummi said the hardship was a blessing in disguise, especially for newborn babies because it was an opportunity for them to be exclusively well-breastfed for six months.
“Before, some women preferred giving their children baby formula because they wanted to keep their breasts intact. But the reverse is the case now because many of them could not afford it and therefore stick to exclusive breastfeeding, which is cheaper and even more nutritious,” she noted.
A renowned Professor of Public Health, Mansur Oche, regretted that only 20 per cent of mothers exclusively breastfed their children in the country.
He also called for an enabling environment for working mothers to breastfeed their babies at their places of work.
The Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry for Women and Children Development, Aishat Dantsoho, said the state was working towards providing creches in Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as the extension of maternal leave to six months for working mothers as is the case in some states.