By Oluwabukola Akanni
A dietitian, Mrs Motunrayo Oduneye, says breastfeeding is the most affordable way to provide food security for infants and children with the hike in food prices.
Oduneye, an Assistant Chief Dietitian, University College Hospital, Ibadan, made the assertion on Tuesday in Ibadan while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
She said breastfeeding fulfills food security criteria by providing infants access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs.
“Breastfeeding is a natural and low cost way of feeding babies and children.
“It is affordable for everyone and does not burden household budget compared to artificial feeding, breastfeeding contributes to poverty reduction.
“The hike in food prices should be an opportunity for mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding.
“It helps mothers to save money to buy nutritious food for themselves rather than using the money to buy expensive formula feeds,” she said.
Oduneye who highlighted some benefits of breastfeeding, said that exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond provide high quality nutrients.
“Breastfeeding can help prevent hunger, undernutrition and obesity.
“Breastfed babies have lower risk of acquiring urinary tract infections.
“Breastfeeding also helps infants to produce higher levels of antibodies in response to childhood immunisations.
Breastfeeding is the best way to increase infant survival,” she said.
The dietitian called for increased awareness on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life.
She said that the promotion of breastfeeding was the best way to increase food security and decrease demand on inadequate, unreliable and expensive artificial baby milk. (NAN)