Why we endorse exclusive breastfeeding – Bauchi mothers

Bauchi mothers.
Bauchi mothers.

Why we endorse exclusive breastfeeding – Bauchi mothers

The quest of UNICEF Bauchi field office to ensure exclusive breastfeeding in the northeast subregion of Nigeria has gained considerable traction, as a number of mothers in Bauchi state endorsed the practice saying its positive impact on the health of lactating mothers and their babies can never be overemphasized.

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During a field trip sponsored by UNICEF Bauchi field office across some Primary Healthcare facilities in Azare town, a number of mothers, especially those who practice exclusive breastfeeding said it is the surest way to go. Some of them even regretted not practicing it on all their children.

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They therefore, vow to defy cultural practices and other encumbrances to ensure the practice is sustained in Bauchi State and even beyond because of its tremendous benefits to both mothers, babies and families.

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During an interaction with visiting team of journalists, all the mothers interviewed at Kofar Fada and Bidir Primary healthcare centers said, they had a fore knowledge of exclusive breastfeeding. When asked whether they have practiced it, a number of them answered in the affirmative. Even the few ones who said they didn’t practice it explained that it was not out of disbelief but due to some socio-cultural hiccups.

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Hawwa Mohammed’s story

Hawwa Mohammed, an expectant mother of three had expressed considerable misgivings over her failure to exclusively breastfed her first daughter as a result of family pressure.

But she noted that in her subsequent deliveries she defied the odds and ensure that the children are exclusively breastfed because of her knowledge about the inherent benefits of the practice.

According to her, in her resolve to exclusively breastfeed the children, she enlisted the support of her husband and was lucky to win him to her side after telling him that the practice is beneficial to both mother and child.

“I first got the knowledge of exclusive breastfeeding during one of my ante natal visits to this primary healthcare facility. I learnt that children who are exclusively breastfed are healthier, stronger and will have rapid development of the brain.

“When I came home, I told my husband about the practice and its benefits and he instantly agreed that we should adopt it.

“In fact in my resolve to ensure my subsequent children are exclusively breastfed, I stopped entrusting them to outsiders. I always ensure that they are within my vigilant supervision.

“My second and third children on whom I administer exclusive breastfeeding are by far healthier, stronger and intellectually sound than my first child. They have been excelling in their academic pursuits and that is why I regretted my failure to exclusively breastfed my first child,” she said.

Mohammed who said that exclusive breastfeeding is a win win for mother and child noted that she feels stronger and healthier while exclusively breastfeeding her children, urging mothers to also follow suit for their health benefits and the good of their children.

Also corroborating Mohammed, another expectant mother of four at Bidir PHC, Aisha Sani said she exclusively breastfed two out of her four children.

Bidir PHCC, Azare.
Bidir PHCC, Azare

“I’m a living testimony to the positive impact of exclusive breastfeeding.
I bore four children. Out of the four, I exclusively breastfed two. And I can in all honesty tell you that the two I exclusively breastfed are healthier, stronger and are more resistant to diseases,” she said.

When asked where she got the positive message, Sani said she got the knowledge during ante natal briefings.

In the same vein, another expectant mother of four who simply identified herself as Walida at Bidir PHC, said, she has fully subscribed to the practice and has never regretted her decision.

Also expressing her total compliance to exclusive breastfeeding, an expectant mother of five, Jamila Magaji said “the practice is responsible for the healthy well being of all my children.”

“I bore five children and I ensured they are all exclusively breastfed. I must thank my husband for his immeasurable support to make this rare fit a possibility.

“Secondly, I maintained serious vigilance on my children as I don’t usually allow people to take them away from me. I will say with all sense of humility that my children are healthy, physically and intellectually strong,” she said.

Hassana Aliyu, a mother of one, said, she also subscribed to exclusive breastfeeding after learning about its positive impact on the lives of babies and mothers alike.

Kofar Fada PHC, Azare.
Kofar Fada PHC, Azare.

“I have no qualms implementing the practice because I have an understanding family. I will say with all sense of responsibility, that exclusive breastfeeding is the way to go. My child has remained strong and healthy and the practice to me is akin to family planning procedure because it has prevented me from conception,” she said.

Speaking with the visiting team of journalists, the facility manager of Kofar Fada PHC, Hadiza Hassan, said, exclusive breastfeeding has gained momentum and acceptability in her facility as more women embraced the practice due to its impact.

“Majority of our women have fully embraced exclusive breastfeeding. This is due to the fact that we take time to explain the benefits of the practice during ante natal and post natal briefings.

“Mostly, mothers only fail to practice exclusive breastfeeding in their first deliveries. But they usually measure up in their subsequent deliveries. This is partly because of the lessons they draw during the ante natal and post natal briefings where women who previously adopted the procedure come up with enchanting stories.

“Because we carry out the sessions in groups, the briefings serve as a peer review of sorts where mothers learn and draw beautiful lessons from the experiences of others. Because of the success of the practice, women on their own often come to us for guidance on exclusive breastfeeding. That shows you the level of acceptability of the practice,” she said.



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