Tema witnesses increase in early breastfeeding initiation, says Metropolitan Health Directorate Nutritionist

Tema witnesses increase in early breastfeeding initiation, says Metropolitan Health Directorate Nutritionist (1): Ghana News

Mr. Samuel Atuahene Antwi, the nutritionist for the Metropolitan Health Directorate, has revealed that the early initiation of breastfeeding for babies born in Tema increased to 77.7 percent in 2023, reflecting a 5.7 percent rise from the 72.0 percent recorded in 2022.

In an interview with the , Mr. Antwi provided a breakdown of the statistics, mentioning a 19 percent increase in early breastfeeding initiation for the Tema North sub-metro. Meanwhile, the Tema South sub-metro saw a 6.5 percent increase, and Community One experienced a slight decrease of 3.7 percent.

Highlighting the significance of early breastfeeding initiation, Mr. Antwi emphasized that 88.1 percent of babies born in 2023 were exclusively breastfed for three months. However, only 2.5 percent continued breastfeeding at age one.

Encouraging mothers to adhere to recommended breastfeeding practices, Mr. Antwi referred to the 's guidelines, stating, “The initiation of breastfeeding should be done within the first hour after birth.”

He stressed the importance of colostrum, the initial yellowish, sticky breast milk, which provides essential compounds and antibodies crucial for the newborn's immune system, fighting infections, and promoting growth.

To maximize the benefits of breastfeeding, Mr. Antwi advised mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continue complementary feeding for at least two years before weaning.

He outlined the various advantages of breastfeeding, including promoting growth development, preventing stunting, aiding digestion, and contributing to the development of the baby's jaw and teeth.

Additionally, Mr. Antwi highlighted the maternal benefits of breastfeeding, explaining that early initiation facilitates the expulsion of the placenta, stimulates uterine contractions, and reduces the risk of bleeding after delivery.

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