World Breastfeeding Week: Katsina First Lady identifies harmful breastfeeding practices
By Faith Awa Maji, Katsina
Katsina State First Lady, Hajiya Zulaihat Dikko Radda, has frowned at what she identified as harmful breastfeeding practices in the communities.
“Applying herbs to breast as breast-cleansing agents, expressing the first breast milk and pouring away, giving goat or cow milk while able to breastfeed an infant, are some of these harmful practices,” she said on Wednesday.
Hajiya Zulaihat spoke while flagging-off the 2023 World Breastfeeding Week in Katsina.
She noted that breastfeeding an infant at least for the first six months of life has enormous benefits more so as breast milk contains about 80 per cent water and as the nutrients the baby needs to survive within the period.
According to her, “all mothers should be supported to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth, within the first hour after delivery followed by continuous breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to two years or
“We must always remember that breastfeeding is not only important to the child but also important to the mother, her family and the society at large.
“All community leaders and government sectors must include women in system transformations to ensure breastfeeding -friendly communities and workplaces respectively.
“Even in Islam, mothers are expected to breastfeed their offspring for two whole years.
“I believe that every other religion across the state encourages the act of
Breastfeeding as it has long-term health and economic benefit to a nation.
She further advocated that mothers be given four months maternity leave while still considering more for working mothers.
“This is a very important strategy to enable breastfeeding and optimal nutrition for babies especially in the first six months of life.
“Today, I am calling for more awareness on breastfeeding support in workplaces, this includes public and private organisations.
“The identified challenges that hinder breastfeeding of infants in our environment include inadequate knowledge among both men and women on the benefits of breast milk, bad social norms, poor family and social support, early return to work after childbirth and lack of a conducive breastfeeding environment especially for working mothers among others.
“The main message today is promoting breastfeeding for working mothers or parents in workplaces.”
In his speech, Head of UNICEF Field Office, Kano, Mr. Rahama Rihood Mohammed Farah, described breastfeeding as not only natural and beautiful act but also crucial for the health and well-being of children and mothers.