As the world celebrates the breastfeeding week, the Post Pregnancy Family Planning (PPFP) project has reminded mothers that breastmilk offers the most nutritious and affordable infant meal, which the infant formula lacks.
With this year's theme 'Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet', PPFP highlighted that breastmilk provides several benefits to the mother and baby in a press statement it issued on Tuesday.
"Breastfeeding supplies all the essential vitamins and minerals to babies in a form that can easily be absorbed, and has antibodies which helps to help fight infection," it noted.
It further acknowledged that evidence had shown that breastfed babies are healthier, and more likely to have fewer hospital visits.
Citing that the World Health Organisation recommends that babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months, without food or water, the project said exclusive breastfeeding prevents ovulation which means an egg is not released each month, therefore, pregnancy is not likely to occur.
"However, if exclusive breastfeeding is not properly practised, ovulation will take place, and can lead to pregnancy."
It reminded also that exclusive breastfeeding can be used as a form of family planning method if practised as Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) fulfilling three criteria.
"If a woman has a baby less than six months old, if her menstrual bleeding (menses/period) has not returned, and if she breastfeeds her baby exclusively (day and night).
In its efforts to promote health mother and child, the project urged mothers to visit any registered hospital with the green dot logo to speak to a family planning provider to get enlightened on other family planning methods a woman can start using whilst breastfeeding.
PPFP, in line with WHO and UNICEF, called on governments to protect and promote women's access to skilled breastfeeding counselling, a critical component of breastfeeding support.
Breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in life. It delivers health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both children and mothers. And it forms part of a sustainable food system. But while breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not always easy. Mothers need support - both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding.
PPFP is supporting Lagos state to increase modern contraceptive uptake amongst women within the post-pregnancy period. The project is currently being implemented across 184 private health facilities within 19 Local Government Areas.
The projects' key interventions include demand generation, and service delivery components with data use through research, monitoring.