He said that adding formula, water, tea, drinks, cereals and other foods, in the first six months, increases the baby’s risk of allergies and diseases.
“Exclusive breastfeeding is a balanced nutrition meal for infants to survive, grow properly and defend illnesses such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, malnutrition and allergies,” he said.
“Infants require the right proportion of nutrients and breast milk is rich in nutrients and anti-bodies that contain the right quantities of fat, sugar, water and protein.
“The first milk (foremilk) that comes from each breast is nutritious but looks thin and watery. This milk is mainly to quench the baby’s thirst. After this foremilk, comes the richer hind milk which contains extra fat and energy so the baby will feel full and grow strong.”
He advised mothers to breastfeed exclusively to guard against illnesses later in life.
Ronke Oni, a paediatrician and staff of Gracene hospital in Lagos, also said that exclusive breastfeeding might help children to avoid a host of diseases that could strike later in life.
“Children who are not exclusively breastfed risk diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol and inflammatory bowel disease,” Oni said.
“Babies who have only breast milk for six months are less sick than babies who eat other foods; they have less pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. They also have less intestinal disease, fewer infections and fewer allergies.”
She advised working mothers to also do exclusive breastfeeding by expressing breast milk at work and at home.
“Expressed milk should be left covered in a clean container in a cool place, to be fed from a cup while the mother is away,” she added.
“Expressed breast milk would last eight to 10 hours out of the fridge and three days in a fridge. When the mother returns home, she should breastfeed the baby often through the night.”