Ekiti State Government of Dr Kayode Fayemi approves six months of maternity leave for exclusive breastfeeding of newborn with effect from February 1 2020.
The Governor’s approval is in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) goal that Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk with no other liquids or solids given to baby in the first six months of life.
Accordingly, the approval given by Governor Fayemi keys into global best practices that will improve the quality of lives of the citizens of the State, says Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Yinka Oyebode.
In a statement signed by Oyebode, the new policy aims at improving maternal health and encourage nursing mothers to observe the six months exclusive breastfeeding campaign of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Exclusive Breastfeeding has been proven to have many health benefits for both the mother and infant.
The Breast milk contains all the nutrients an infant needs in the first six months of life.
According to Nutrition expert, Breastfeeding protects against diarrhoea and common childhood illnesses such as pneumonia, and may also have longer-term health benefits for the mother and child, such as reducing the risk of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence.
The Ekiti State six months exclusive breastfeeding campaign is aimed at reducing to the barest minimum, infant and maternal mortality rate in the State say, Oyebode as well as facilitate work life balance for female workers.
He noted that the Ekiti Government continues to show strong political will towards ensuring gender inclusiveness
“This policy is one of many other frameworks in place aimed at promoting the rights of women and children.”, states Oyebode.
UNICEF and WHO recommend initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life to enjoy the first yellow creamy milk called colostrum, as well as Exclusive breastfeeding, without any additional food or fluids, not even water, for the first six months.
Thereafter children should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond. should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.
According to UNICEF, Proper feeding of infants and young children can increase their chances of survival.
It can also promote optimal growth and development, especially in the critical window from birth to 2 years of age.
UNICEF notes that infants should be put to the breast for feeding within one hour of birth.
Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continue to be breastfed up to 2 years of age and beyond. Starting at 6 months, breastfeeding should be combined with safe, age-appropriate feeding of solid, semi-solid and soft foods.