World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from August 1 to 7 in order to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies. Although not every mother can do exclusive breastfeeding for her child due to individual reasons, but I like that there is a period set aside to encourage mothers to try and breastfeed their children. This is because the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding can never be overemphasized.
Exclusive breastfeeding is when a mother feeds her child for six months with breast milk ONLY (I just had to type that in capital letters). This means that during the period of six months, mothers are not allowed to give even water. Not even when the child is hiccuping. It is important that every mother who wants to exclusively breastfeed her child should know this! Although it is not really as easy as it sounds, I guess that is why mothers have to be encouraged to do this and when they do, they also need all the support they can get from their loved ones.
Let me share a conversation that took place between a nurse and a mother whose baby was just 3 weeks old, when I visited a hospital recently.
Nurse: You dey give this your baby water?
Mother: No, I don’t. Just breast milk.
Nurse: E nor good. You suppose dey give am water. E just be like say make you chop make you no come drink water. The baby suppose drink water make she bellefull. Abeg dey give her water o.
Mother: Okay… (I am very sure she said this to end the discussion).
Luckily, another nurse walked in so the first nurse decided to ask her what she thought about the discussion. Funny enough, the second nurse told her exclusive breastfeeding does not include water. So she ended up educating the first nurse on what exclusive breastfeeding is and that breast milk is mainly made up of water, so there isn’t any need to give a baby water.
Is it not funny that someone whom you would assume knows it all, actually does not really know? Because in this situation, that young mother would have just ended up doing as the first nurse said just because she is a “nurse” and she is supposed to know these things. I am sure the young mother was already well informed on the issue of breastfeeding but she just did not want to “argue” with the nurse. Now imagine a mother who does not really know much about exclusive breastfeeding, she will definitely hold on to what the nurse has said and would probably start giving water to her baby of 3 weeks.
So it is very important that every mother who decides to exclusively breastfeed her child should read a lot about the topic and hold on to what she knows so that she will not be misled by someone who does not know.