It is widely known in Nigeria that after every delivery a woman is expected to go on 3 months maternity leave. This leave was later pegged into 4 months. The reason is to help mothers give adequate care to infants, by feeding them with exclusive breastfeeding.
The Minister of health, Isaac Adewole, has assured Nigerians that his ministry will collaborate with the ministry of labour and productivity to increase maternity leave from 4 months to 6 months.
The minister of health made this statement at the ongoing World Breastfeeding Week in Abuja, his reason is to allow mothers practice exclusive breastfeeding.
“The duration of maternity leave is too short, an urgent step must be taken to encourage lactating mothers” he said
He admonished married men, to allow their wives breastfeed their babies without seeing their babies as competitors.
According to World Health Organization, infants should be exclusively breastfeed for the first six months. The exclusive breastfeeding is most times not continued after the 3 months maternity leave is over.
Since mothers will have to subject their babies to the creche or day care, feed them with baby food, thereby increasing the chance of infants to develop some diseases.
The benefit of exclusive breastfeeding lowers the risk of gastrointestinal infection, it reduces infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses.
To signify that the collaboration with the ministry of labour and productivity, which the minister of health mentioned is becoming ‘better than good’, to minister of labour said in one of her speech.
The need for lactating rooms for breastfeeding mothers should be in every institution.
To achieve this goal, I strongly believe everyone must be involved. Authorities at various works, men and women as a whole.
Do you think this can be achieved in Nigeria?
What other ways can government employ to make mothers practice exclusive breastfeeding?